The Qatar Fund For Development (QFFD) signed a $5 million grant agreement to support UNRWA education in the Gaza Strip on November 29, 2014. The five-year agreement will support UNRWA education from 2013 to 2018 ($ 1 million per year).
The project aims to ensure that all refugee children in the Gaza Strip receive primary and preparatory education in 25 schools.
The project also aims at enrolling 28,797 refugee students in educational programs, to obtain their basic education, enabling 25 schools to improve the quality of education in subjects such as Arabic, English, mathematics and science, and helping provide jobs for 1,130 teachers and administrative staff, as poverty and unemployment rate reached 41.2% in 2016.
Following a generous donation of approximately US$ 4.6 million from Qatar-based Al Fakhoora – a programme of the Education Above All Foundation – to UNRWA to undertake maintenance and repair activities across 43 UNRWA schools in Gaza, a delegation from the Qatar Fund For Development paid a visit to the UNRWA Al Fakhoora school in North Gaza on 2 February. The delegation was led by QFFD Executive Director of Corporate Strategy Department, Ali Al-Dabagh and included various representatives from the Al Fakhoora Education Programme. Together with senior UNRWA staff members, they attended a presentation about Al Fakhoora project with UNRWA and enjoyed a small photo exhibition covering the conditions of the schools before and during the 2014 conflict, including photos of those who were internally displaced as a result of the conflict. The photos captured the damage inflicted on the schools and the maintenance and repair works undertaken through the project.
“UNRWA thanks the Qatar Fund For Development and Al Fakhoora for their support for this important project that allows UNRWA students to return to a safe environment and to receive quality education,” commented Melinda Young, Deputy Director of UNRWA Operations in Gaza, during the visit.
The 43 UNRWA schools supported by Al Fakhoora had been used as designated emergency shelters during the 2014 conflict in Gaza; many subsequently served as collective centres to accommodate those dealing with extended displacement. Throughout the 2014 July/August hostilities, dedicated UNRWA staff provided humanitarian assistance to over 290,000 displaced persons in 90 of 156 UNRWA school buildings, with the remaining school buildings either unsafe or damaged. UNRWA schools were not designed to perform as shelters for thousands of persons; hence, most of them required repair and construction works after the internally displaced had transitioned to private shelters, many with the help of UNRWA.
All of the 43 schools supported by Al Fakhoora will benefit from repair works, as well as other items according to individual school needs; this assistance package includes items such as generators, desks, laptops, water pumps and other school equipment.
During their visit to the UNRWA Al Fakhoora school, the Qatari delegation also engaged with several internally displaced families whose youth are benefiting from Al Fakhoora Dynamic Future Programme for university students in Gaza. The displaced families talked about their difficult experiences and suffering during the hostilities, including the loss of their homes, and reflected on the UNRWA assistance they have received throughout this time.