Beirut, 8 June 2021 –UNICEF Representative in Lebanon Ms. Yukie Mokuo, Chairperson of the Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Committee H.E. Dr. Hassan Mneimneh and the Director of the Youth Department at the Embassy of Palestine in Lebanon, Mr. Mustafa Hamade, visited Burj Barajneh Camp in Beirut, accompanied by the Director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon Mr. Claudio Cordone.
The delegation toured Yarmouk School and was briefed on the UNRWA education programme in Lebanon, with a focus on learning under the circumstances imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. They also met with school parliamentarians, who shared their aspirations and concerns about the future. The delegation then visited the early childhood development (ECD) and Psychosocial support centres with representative at Fraternity Association and Najdeh Association, and were briefed on the services they provide. They then had a stop at the camp's UNRWA Health Centre, meeting with medical staff and hearing about the medical services provided there, with a particular focus on services related to COVID-19 and the vaccines provided by UNICEF to children.
The delegation also visited the Women's Programme Association (WPA), where an overview was given of the Agency's protection services, as well as of the work done by the WPA. They also heard about the concerns of the community, and of women in particular, as well as the challenges the association faces in implementing its work due to the deteriorating conditions affecting the refugees, who had already been very vulnerable even before they were hit by Lebanon's deepening socio-economic crisis.
The delegation toured the narrow alleys of the camp and saw first-hand the harsh living conditions in such an overcrowded environment. They then met with a group of youth, with whom they discussed the COVID-19 vaccination campaign as well as the role the youth are playing in encouraging the community to take the vaccine. They also discussed the overall challenges facing Palestine refugees, including a lack of rights, increased poverty and unemployment, and the effects of the pandemic on livelihoods. The discussion also touched on youth issues related to their right to work, their future prospects, and their hopes and aspirations.
"We are here today to congratulate our partners on the reopening the centers again after months of closure due to COVID-19," said Yukie Mokuo UNICEF representative to Lebanon. "Bringing children back to school and learning as soon as possible is one of the best ways to mitigate the psychosocial impact of COVID-19 and UNICEF is committed to reach every child with equal access to education and learning".