AMMAN, November 23, 2022– The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Middle East (UNRWA) has completed a year-long project on “Emergency Education for Palestinian Refugee Children – Phase III”, which ran from October 2021 to October 2022, thanks to 3.5 million EUR Contribution from the Belgian Government through its Federal Public Service for Foreign Affairs, External Trade and Development Cooperation (DGD) and building on previous support. The project addressed the educational and psychosocial needs of more than 370,000 UNRWA students in Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and Gaza.
Through its Education in Emergencies (EiE) program, UNRWA continues to strive to provide quality, inclusive and equitable education to its students in challenging contexts. The Belgian government’s generous contribution has helped break down some of the socio-economic barriers to accessing quality education for vulnerable Palestinian refugee students – many of whom are at risk of dropping out of school – by providing school supplies to families who cannot they can afford for their children; School transport for children when schools are far away; and aids for children with chronic illnesses or disabilities. The project has also helped ensure students and teachers learn and teach in a safe environment by enabling more than fifty risk assessments and school remediation/maintenance to mitigate identified risks.
The psychosocial well-being of children is central to their right to a quality education, especially for children affected by conflict. To this end, the project used over 100 school counselors. This will help children build their resilience and coping mechanisms, especially when faced with stress and/or trauma. In addition, UNRWA was able to source materials for recreational activities that have further helped children develop knowledge and skills that can facilitate their positive engagement with peers, friends, family and the wider community. Finally, thanks to the support, UNRWA was able to renovate dedicated recreation rooms to ensure access to recreational activities for all children, including children with disabilities.
This generous contribution from the Belgian government to the EiE program builds on a partnership that began in 2016 with Phase I, Phase II and Phase III and ended in 2022. This partnership has helped strengthen UNRWA’s educational program to address the most pressing educational and psychosocial needs of UNRWA students. It has also enabled students and staff to better cope with the many emergencies affecting Palestinian refugees and the agency’s overall emergency preparedness at the headquarters, in the field and in the schools in the face of the protracted crises in the Gaza Strip, in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and Syria, economic setbacks in Lebanon and increasing social and economic pressures in Jordan.
UNRWA is the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees in the Middle East.
UNRWA was established in 1949 by the United Nations General Assembly with a mandate to provide humanitarian assistance and protection to registered Palestinian refugees in the organization’s area of operations pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA operates in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.
Tens of thousands of Palestinian refugees who lost their homes and livelihoods in the 1948 conflict are still displaced and in need of assistance after nearly 75 years. UNRWA helps Palestinian refugees reach their full human development potential through quality services in education, health care, relief and social services, shelter, camp infrastructure and improvement, microfinance and emergency relief. UNRWA is funded almost entirely from voluntary contributions.
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