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UNRWA receives First Installment of Annual Funding from the Khalifa Bin Zayed Foundation for Education in Gaza
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) received an initial disbursement of US$ 600,000 from the Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The funds are part of a US$ 1.5 million grant towards safeguarding the right to education for Palestine refugee children in Gaza. The contribution was received by UNRWA Acting Director of External Relations and Spokesperson Tamara Alrifai at the Embassy of the UAE in Amman, Jordan.
Through the contribution, UNRWA will implement an annual project for the scholastic year of 2021-2022 for the UNRWA Beit Lahia Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Elementary Boys and Elementary Co-Educational Schools in northern Gaza. School supplies including bags, stationary, and uniforms will be distributed to some 3,100 Palestine refugee students. In addition, the funds will cover the equipment, furnishing and rehabilitation of the two schools.
Since 2010, and for the 11th successive scholastic academic year, through the ‘Adopt a School’ initiative, the Khalifa Foundation and UNRWA have provided school facilities and supplies to students, giving them the right tools to foster a positive and quality learning environment. This generous support will also fund the salaries of 80 teaching staff for the 2021-2022 academic year.
Now, more than ever, the humanitarian and socioeconomic conditions for most of Gaza’s population are dire. After an onslaught of hostilities in May and the ongoing fourteen-year Israeli blockade, widespread devastation mars the lives of some 2 million Palestinians living in the besieged coastal enclave.
UNRWA Spokesperson Tamara Alrifai, said: “We are grateful for the long lasting and continuing support of the Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation to the UNRWA education programme. This donation from the Khalifa Foundation and the Government of the United Arab Emirates will have a direct and positive impact on the education and learning experiences of thousands of Palestine refugees, who successfully started a new school year in Gaza a few weeks ago.” She added, “This project is a reminder of how much UNRWA and the UAE prioritize the right to education for every child and see quality learning as a pathway to success.”
Mohamed Haji Al Khoori, Director General of Khalifa Foundation said, “We recognize the importance of UNRWA’s work with Palestine refugees, particularly here in Gaza. UNRWA has commitment towards refugees in Gaza facing difficult circumstances. At the same time, we welcome further efforts by the Agency to reform and to ensure the long-term sustainability of its essential services in Gaza and other fields.”
UNRWA provides a range of critical services to Palestinian refugees registered with the Agency across its five fields of operation, including Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. Its services include education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection, microfinance and emergency relief.
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 with a mandate to provide humanitarian assistance and protection to registered Palestine refugees in the Agency’s area of operations, namely the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. Thousands of Palestine refugees who lost both their homes and livelihood because of the 1948 conflict have remained displaced and in need of significant support for over seventy years. UNRWA helps them achieve their full potential in human development through quality services it provides in education, health care, relief and social services, protection, camp infrastructure and improvement, microfinance and emergency assistance. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions.
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