Dubai Cares, part of Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, announced a new program in Gaza, Palestine amounting to AED 11,402,550 (USD 3,103,824) over the next two years to ensure access to education for 2,570 refugee Palestinian children, in partnership with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). This program is part of a series of programs that Dubai Cares has been launching under its "Rebuild Palestine. Start with Education" initiative that was announced in October 2014.
Commenting on the new program, Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Cares said: "The ongoing blockade and violence continues to take a terrible toll on the people of Gaza. The majority of the population in Gaza is totally dependent on humanitarian aid, leaving a devastating impact on children, many of whom have now lived through three major conflicts. Dubai Cares strongly believes that we should do all we can to minimise disruption in the lives of these young people and we are delighted to be able to reach out with a helping hand in the form of direct financial support towards UNRWA. Children deserve opportunities; they deserve schools and education, not the unimaginable horrors brought upon them by conflicts and wars."
Sandra Mitchell, UNRWA Deputy Commissioner commented: "Dubai Cares is a long-term supporter to UNRWA operations and to Palestinian refugees. It is organizations like Dubai Cares that help sustain the hope of Palestinian refugees. I would like to recognize and thank them for their contribution to safeguard the rights to education for Palestine Refugee children in Gaza. Through such generous contributions, UNRWA's position is strengthened for a better future for these children."
The right of children to an education is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and is fundamental to helping each child achieve his or her full potential. UNRWA has worked for more than six decades to ensure that all Palestinian refugee children between the age of 6 and 15 have access to the best possible education, and runs one of the largest and most successful school systems in the Middle East.
Dubai Cares recognises that it is essential for refugee children to be able to complete primary education if they were to realise their full potential in adult life, and this is one of the key priorities of UNRWA, which runs 257 elementary and preparatory schools within Gaza, benefiting a quarter of a million Palestinian refugee children. The number of students increases by an average of 8,500 additional children per year, taught by approximately 8,700 dedicated and motivated teachers, the majority of whom are themselves refugees.
The financial commitment by Dubai Cares aims to ensure the ongoing education of 2,570 children by providing the necessary supplies of learning materials, as well as sustaining the capacity of approximately 90 teaching staff and assistants at the Zaitoun Elementary Co-ed 'C' school and the Beit Hanoun Prep Girls 'B' school.
In Palestine, the UAE-based global philanthropic organization has implemented several aid and development programs including access to paediatric ambulatory care in Northern Gaza, implementation of a deworming campaign for UNRWA's school children in Gaza and the West Bank, two early childhood development programs in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, Million Book Challenge, a school feeding program in Gaza, as well as supporting access to education and mitigating psychosocial effects of armed conflict on the Palestinian refugee student population.