UNRWA celebrated the inauguration of Shu’fat Basic Girls School in Shu’fat camp, a project that was funded by the Islamic Development Bank (IDB). Guests at the celebration included UNRWA Director of Operations in the West Bank Felipe Sanchez, Hani Abu Diab from the Islamic Development Bank and the Head of the UNRWA Arab Partners Unit, Peter Ford. Also present were senior UNRWA officials along with officials from the Department of Refugee Affairs, school staff, and local community representatives.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Mr. Sanchez said, “We are pleased to see this unique school up and running and filled with students – 341 students in the elementary school and 632 in the preparatory school. I extend my gratitude to IDB for this generous donation that allows UNRWA to address the educational needs of Palestine refugees, especially in Jerusalem area, where the Palestinian presence is under continuous threat. We hope that this school can be a safe haven for the girls of Shufat camp.”
Mr. Ford said, “UNRWA is grateful to the Islamic Development Bank for funding this new school. Obviously this school, like any UNRWA school, is important for the education of hundreds of Palestinian refugee children and their future chances in life. However Shu’fat school is also important because a school is an institution of society, and supporting Palestinian institutions in the Jerusalem area is a vital need. So thank you to IDB for making that possible.”
Mr. Abu Diab, speaking on behalf of IDB Trust Funds Department projects manager Omar Mehyar, said, “Just like the family home, which is passed from one generation to the next, this school will pass down the knowledge of previous generations to the next. So along with the family, another integral pillar of a community is education and the Islamic Development Bank, together with UNRWA, are grateful for the opportunity to help strengthen the Shu’fat community in Jerusalem with the construction of this school.”
A generous grant of about US$ 3 million from the IDB allowed for the construction of a new school for girls as well as renovation of an existing school. At 4,200 square metres, the new school consists of 40 classes, a library, computer laboratory, a multi-purpose room, a counselling room, and two administrative rooms. Construction, which began in June 2012, was completed in August 2014.
The Islamic Development Bank has been a generous donor for UNRWA since 2001 and has placed an emphasis on the education stream. Its latest grant for UNRWA in the West Bank was launched in 2011 at a value of US$ 3.2 million for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of educational facilities at Shu’fat camp, as well as US$ 1.7 million for supporting vocational training centres in the West Bank.
UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.
Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, expanding need, and deepening poverty. As a result, the Agency's General Fund (GF), supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit. Currently the deficit stands at US$ 56 million.
For more information, please contact:
Public Information Officer - West Bank Field Office
Mobile: (+ 972) 54 168 719
Office: (+ 972) 2 589 0598