29 April 2019, Gaza Strip - The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) inaugurated a new hall that can house over 1000 students in the Rosary Sisters School in the Gaza Strip. The building of this hall was made possible thanks to funding from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, through the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD).
Mère Ennis Yacoub, General Head of Rosary Sisters, thanked the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for their generous contribution to the school and its student: “The hall we are inaugurating today is a great example of how students and the local community can access social and educational activities. We are so grateful that our students can finally enjoy a space and education opportunities as their peers around the world, which is an achievement they deserve.”
The construction of the hall is as part of the project “Construction and Rehabilitation of Three Schools in Gaza” - a project under UNDP’s programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People, implemented in partnership with UNRWA.
“In my many years at UNRWA, I have always been struck by how every Palestinian I meet prioritizes his or her children’s education, said Matthias Schmale, Director of UNRWA Operations in Gaza. We are grateful for the generosity of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and for the fruitful partnership with UNDP/ PAPP and are thrilled that the children and the community can now benefit from this multipurpose hall. “
With a space of 660 m2and capacity to accommodate 437 people, the hall is equipped with state-of-the-art light and sound systems, in addition to video conferencing facilities to connect the students and community to the outside world. In addition, rehabilitation works at the school include the construction of a cafeteria, fully equipped science labs spread across three floors, as well as a playground and sports and fitness equipment.
“Schooling is the one experience that most children worldwide have in common, and the most common means by which societies prepare their young for the future,” said Roberto Valent, UNDP Special Representative of the Administrator. “Unfortunately, most students in Gaza are not able to enjoy this schooling experience due to lack of equipped facilities, in addition to them being affected by the continues hostilities. I am glad that our partnership with the Saudi Fund for Development, UNRWA and the Ministry of Education will enable Gaza students to further their right to quality education,” he added.
The Saudi Fund for Development has contributed over US$ 71.5 million to UNDP through UNRWA in Gaza. The support provided restored homes for 13,195 families, six playgrounds and one cultural centre. Three schools were rehabilitated, including the one inaugurated today.
UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in more than 170 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations.
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 5.4 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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