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U.S. Senator from Connecticut pays a landmark visit to UNRWA Wadi Seer Training Centre in Jordan
U.S. Senator from Connecticut, Chris Murphy, paid a landmark visit to the Wadi Seer Training Centre run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in Amman, Jordan.
Senator Murphy received an on-site briefing about the situation of Palestine refugees in Jordan, the response of UNRWA during the COVID-19 pandemic and the way the Agency runs its vocational training programmes. He was accompanied by the U.S Ambassador to Jordan, H.E. Henry T. Wooster, the UNRWA Commissioner-General Mr. Philippe Lazzarini and the Director of UNRWA Affairs in Jordan, Ms. Marta Lorenzo, in addition to a group from the U.S. embassy and UNRWA staff.
During the tour inside the campus, the delegation was introduced to different workshops including maintenance of mobile phone devices, general electrical installation, carpentry and furniture making and auto mechanics. The Wadi Seer Training Centre was founded in 1962 and offers skills to some 1,500 students today in nearly 50 different educational areas that meet the needs of Jordan’s labour market.
“One of the greatest challenges young people face nowadays is to find a job,” said the Director of UNRWA Affairs in Jordan, M. Lorenzo. “Ninety per cent of our students find jobs immediately after they graduate from UNRWA vocational and training centres in Jordan. The training, skills and experience that these young women and men gain usually help reduce the barriers to the competitive labour market. To continue this positive trend, UNRWA training centres continuously adapt to the changing needs of the labour market.”
During the visit, the U.S. delegation met with several UNRWA students, who described how the education they receive in the Agency’s Vocational and Training Centre contributes to shaping their ambition and personalities. They also opened up about the employment challenges they will face, especially as the pandemic hit hard at the economy in Jordan.
“I was glad to visit the Wadi Seer Training Centre and learn about the vocational training and education programs they provide to refugees in Jordan. These U.S.-supported programs are critical to helping refugees, especially young people, rebuild their lives and contribute to the economy,” said Senator Murphy.
UNRWA in Jordan operates two TVET centres; Wadi Seer Training Centre (WSTC) and Amman Training Centre (ATC). As of April 2021, these centres provide 30 vocational, 16 technical and one trade courses to nearly 3,000 students.
“The digital age has forced UNRWA to review the trainings it offered to students across the region," said Mr. Lazzarini. “Young Palestine refugees must be on par with their peers around the world if they are to continue being coveted by businesses and firms globally. Robotics, mechatronics and green energy are all new areas that UNRWA has now included in its vocational education programmes.”
Lat month, the Unites States announced the restoration of US$ 150 million to UNRWA and Palestine refugees, restoring its role as a decades-long friend and supporter of the UN agency that provides life-saving human development and humanitarian aid assistance to Palestine refugees across the Middle East.
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 5.7 million Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA across its five fields of operation. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, including East Jerusalem 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.
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