UNRWA INAUGURATES DALLATA/BEIT JIBREEN SCHOOL IN SYRIA, RECONSTRUCTED WITH THE SUPPORT OF THE PEOPLE OF JAPAN
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) inaugurated the newly reconstructed Dallata/Beit Jibreen School for 2,100 students in Qabr Essit camp, 15 km southeast of Damascus. The school building, which was completely destroyed in the conflict in 2013, was rebuilt and upgraded this year with the generous support of the people of Japan.
The reopening of the second education facility in the camp is a proud accomplishment which was made possible with the support of the Government of Syria and the Ministry of Education. Speaking at the ceremony, the Officer-in-Charge of UNRWA Affairs in Syria, Allan Adriansen, expressed his profound appreciation for the generous contribution of the people of Japan: “This new building will stand as a reminder to everybody that the education of the Palestine refugee children is a priority to UNRWA, to the Ministry of Education, to the international community – and, most importantly, to the Palestine refugee families and children in this community”, said Adriansen.
The construction of the school, which started earlier this year, was completed in 40 weeks and cost US$ 380,751. The three story-building is equipped with 21 classrooms, a library, and computer and science laboratories. The premises are used by both the lower elementary Dallata School (Grades 1 to 4), as well as the middle Beit Jibreen School (Grades 5 to 9). In total, 1,350 students are currently enrolled for the 2016/17 academic year.
The people of Japan’s steadfast support of UNRWA is critical in improving the living conditions and prospects of Palestine refugees. The Government of Japan has contributed up to US$ 3.3 million to the Syria Appeal and US$ 38.2 million to UNRWA programmes across all five fields of operations. The generous support reflects a long-standing friendship with UNRWA stretched over decades.
QABR ESSIT CAMP BACKGROUND
Located in Sayyeda Zeinab, 15 km southeast of Damascus, Qabr Essit camp is home to approximately 20,000 Palestine refugees, representing about 75 percent of the pre-war population figures.
In 2013, armed conflict in the area forced most of the residents of the camp to flee and resulted in UNRWA close down its schools. By the summer of 2014, as the situation improved, access to the area was granted. Residents began returning to rebuild their lives. In November, UNRWA resumed its services in the camp, including the distribution of humanitarian assistance and education.
Today, many living in the camp have been displaced from other locations by armed violence. The area continues to be affected by violence. In the first half of 2016, a series of four suicide bombings resulted in 190 fatalities, including Palestine refugees, in the early months of 2016.
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.