Donations to UNRWA help keep Palestinian students in school
International donors pledged $118 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) to help overcome the agency’s financial crisis. In addition, contributions of $122 million were made at a meeting of government ministers in New York that will help to keep schools in the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria open for a few more months.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) is a relief and human development agency that supports more than five million registered Palestinian refugees. It was established in 1949 and is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions from UN Member States. Currently, the UNRWA covers education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, microfinance and emergency assistance, including in times of armed conflict.
Following a ministerial meeting to discuss the agency’s funding gap, Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl told reporters at UN Headquarters:
“The announcement of an additional $118 million is a very significant step in the direction of overcoming UNRWA’s greatest and gravest financial crisis ever.”
According to a report from Theirworld, education accounts for 54% of UNRWA spending. Although still facing a financial deficit, the recent donations have kept hope alive for thousands of Palestinian students to remain in school and receive an education.
The agency is facing an acute shortage of funds after the United States, traditionally the organisation’s largest contributor, reduced its contribution by $300 million earlier this year. The support from international donors has helped the organisation address the financial deficit.
The funding boost came after Palestinian students made a "save our schools" plea to international leaders, and following the New York meeting, Jordan's Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said:
"We're sending a message that the world does still care about the plight of Palestinian refugees.
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Photo Credit: UNRWA