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OPT: New school buildings for Palestine refugee children thanks to U.S. Government

News and Press Release
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Ms. Maura Connelly, the Chargé d'Affaires for the United States in Syria, inaugurated two new school buildings for girls and boys in Khan Eshieh Camp, Damascus today, October 16, 2008.

The United States contributed $1,056,000 to UNRWA to reconstruct the Beer Sabe'i 1 /Deir Amr and Beer Sabe'i 2/Salameh schools. With the addition of these schools, there are currently 119 UNWRA schools operating in Syria.

Similar to the rest of UNRWA's 119 schools, these two will operate on a double-shift schedule to provide an improved teaching and learning environment for 1,928 students at the elementary and preparatory levels.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, UNRWA Commissioner-General AbuZayd expressed appreciation for the donation. She states, "Such generous assistance from the US Government is deeply appreciated." She also thanked the Syrian Government for its continued support for UNRWA's work and Palestine refugees.

Connelly reaffirmed, "These schools are a symbol of the American people's commitment to the Palestinian people throughout the region, and the American people's commitment to the universal right of education."

"Your donation will translate into better educational services to the refugee children living here," said Mr Ali Mustafa, Director-General of the General Authority for Palestine refugees (GAPAR).

Ms. Connelly and Ms. AbuZayd along with Mr. Mustafa toured the schools and planted a number of olive trees.

Some 4.6 million Palestine refugees in UNRWA's five fields of operations - Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem - are eligible for Agency services, including education, healthcare, social services, shelter, micro-credit loans and emergency aid. UNRWA employs nearly 30,000 staff, the vast majority of whom are Palestine refugees. UNRWA's operations are financed almost entirely by voluntary contributions from donors. The Agency's regular budget for 2008-2009 is $ 1.1 billion, which covers the recurrent costs of the Agency's education, health and relief and social services activities. UNRWA's headquarters are in Gaza City and Amman.

For information only - Not an official record

For further information please contact:

Hala Mukhles
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Mobile: 093-416591