UNRWA Supports the Resilience of Palestine Refugee Students in Gaza with a Generous Donation from the Al-Khair Foundation

The UK-based Al-Khair Foundation made a contribution worth US$40,000 to support psychosocial activities in Gaza provided by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). UNRWA supports the provision of psychosocial activities through school counsellors and opportunities to engage in recreational activities to help mitigate the devastating impact of three rounds of conflict in Gaza during the last ten years, as well as the ongoing blockade, now in its 11th year, both of which affect children deeply.

Across all 267 UNRWA schools in Gaza, the Agency provides psychosocial support services to refugee students through its Community Mental Health Programme.

The generous contribution from the UK-based Al-Khair Foundation covers the running costs of providing mental health and psychosocial support services to the 4,000 students of Daraj neighbourhood schools, including the salaries of four UNRWA school counsellors. The comprehensive package contains a variety of activities like individual counselling, group counselling, and structured mental health and psychosocial guidance as well as providing students with essential life skills, such as self-awareness, positive thinking and anger management skills.

This contribution is part of a grant worth over US$ 777,000 from the Al-Khair Foundation provided in 2015, in support of our Daraj Education Programmes in Gaza. The UK-based charity has shared a strong partnership with UNRWA ever since, ensuring quality education, all operating costs, learning materials, as well as the safety and enhancement of our Daraj Elementary Schools. The project warranted quality education for over 3,700 students and the funding of 100 teachers’ salaries, during the scholastic year 2015/16.

“The Al-Khair Foundation continues to contribute to the well-being of Palestine refugees in Gaza impacted by recurrent hostilities and the blockade. This new contribution ensures that children have access to much-needed psychosocial support,” commented UNRWA Chief of Partnerships, Misbah Sheikh.

The Al-Khair Foundation is among the largest Muslim charities in the UK and works internationally to provide development and relief assistance to some of the most deprived populations. Since 2003, the organization has worked in a number of fields, particularly with regard to education, health-care services and shelter. The Al-Khair Foundation and UNRWA share a commitment to quality education. Education has traditionally been a priority for Al-Khair and is also the Agency’s largest programme, representing over 50 per cent of UNRWA expenses.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

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 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank 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.