Today the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) and the German Ambassador inaugurated the UNRWA Talbieh Elementary and Preparatory Girls’ School after the completion of reconstruction work on the school structure. The ceremony also marked hand-over of rehabilitated shelters to the most vulnerable families in Talbieh refugee camp.
The inauguration ceremony was attended by the German Ambassador Ms. Birgitta Siefker–Eberle, KfW Country Director Mr. Christian Schaub, the Department of Palestinian Affairs, and with the presence of the local community dignitaries and students.
Speaking at the ceremony, the German Ambassador Her Excellency, Ms. Birgitta Siefker–Eberle affirmed on the longstanding partnership with UNRWA, saying: “The Government of Germany through KfW Development Bank has been supporting UNRWA activities in the region over the past 10 years. Up until now the German Government has provided EUR 95 million to the Regional Programme for the Improvement of the Living Conditions of Palestine Refugees in the Camps (REPAC) including Jordan.”
H.E. Siefker–Eberle acknowledged the rising pressure on the Kingdom’s limited resources and commended the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan for continuous support of refugees, stating, “The Government of Germany is aware of the continuous challenges and needs of Palestine refugees. Germany will continue supporting UNRWA in Jordan, this includes the provision of primary basic education, shelter rehabilitation and other camp improvement interventions in the official refugee camps.”
Since the projetc’s commencement in 2012, more than 150 shelters have been rehabilitated or reconstructed, in Huson and Talbieh camps, benefiting about 800 Palestine refugees, in addition to the reconstruction of two schools. The Director of UNRWA Operations in Jordan, Mr. Roger Davies reiterated the value of this generous grant which has enabled the Agency to enhance its service provision and improve the living conditions of its beneficiaries. “Whilst this year was one of the hardest for UNRWA, key partners like the Government of Germany believed in and supported the fundamental role that the Agency plays in the lives of Palestine refugees. Almost 96 per cent of students in Talbieh camp are enrolled in UNRWA schools. This school alone serves just under 1,500 students in a double-shift format.”
Mr. Davies elaborated on future plans to be implemented as part of REPAC, affirming the successful partnership between the governments of Germany and Jordan, stating that: “The current project includes, amongst others, the reconstruction of the Talbieh Boys’ School, the rehabilitation of more than 80 shelters will be rehabilitated benefiting up to 150 Palestine refugees, as well as playgrounds and street infrastructure in Jerash, Talbieh and Huson Camps.”
Following the ceremony delegation members visited a number of rehabilitated shelters in the camp, where the Ambassador distributed the keys of new shelters to Palestine refugee families.
The objective of the REPAC programme is to contribute to the improvement of living conditions of the population affected by continued crisis in and close to Palestine refugee camps in the region through the provision and adequate use of social and economic infrastructure. The program contributes to the enhancement of personal and economic development perspectives for Palestine refugees, providing increased chances for stability, peace and prosperity in the region. UNRWA, in coordination with the Government of Jordan implements the programme, which is financed by the German Government through KfW.
KfW finances investments and advisory services on behalf of the German Government. Besides the support for UNRWA programmes, the ongoing and envisaged projects with a main focus on education, employment promotion as well as water and sanitation in Jordan amount to about 1.3 billion EUR. More information on KfW Development Bank is available at: www.kfw-entwicklungsbank.de/International-financing/KfW-Entwicklungsbank/
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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