UNRWA Opens Family Support Office in Damascus

06 December 2013


Following the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, observed on 25 November, Michael Kingsley-Nyinah, Director of Affairs in Syria for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), opened a family support office to serve Palestine refugees in Damascus.

Located within the UNRWA Women’s Programme Centre in the Alliance area of Damascus and staffed by volunteer lawyers, social workers and psych-support counsellors, the office will provide support and assistance to women on family issues, particularly as they relate to the law.  The office will also enhance the role of women in the family and community, while providing psychosocial support for family members, particularly those who have experienced conflict-related trauma.
Based on the success of similar UNRWA centres in Yarmouk and Dera’a, the office will provide its services to displaced refugees at the UNRWA-run collective shelters in Damascus.

Inaugurating the office, Mr. Kingsley-Nyinah said:  “We must raise our awareness of this kind of violence and realize that in times of conflict, violence against girls and women tends to increase. We must be alert and should do everything we can to prevent this kind of violence from taking place.”  He also thanked the Syrian government and offered his gratitude to the charities and non-governmental organizations that worked with UNRWA on women’s issues.

Ali Mustafa, Director-General of the General Authority for Palestinian Arab Refugees (GAPAR), highlighted the fruitful cooperation between GAPAR and UNRWA and emphasized the government’s ongoing commitment to Palestine refugees. 

Background Information

UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA Programme Budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s Programme Budget. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals.

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance.

For more information, please contact:

Hala Mukhles
Public Information Officer - Syria Field Office
+ 963 (0) 940 88103
+ 963 (0) 940 88103
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