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Enough funds received to reopen UN schools for Palestinian refugees

20 August 2015 16:51


The UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has announced that after receiving $79 million in emergency funds, it is ready to reopen 685 schools in Palestinian refugee camps of Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and the occupied territories.

“Education is a fundamental right for children everywhere in the world, and it should never have come to the point where the UNRWA school year risked being delayed because of a funding shortfall for our core budget,” Pierre Krahenbuhl, the head of the agency, said on Wednesday.

He declared that the 2015-2016 academic year for refugee students will start on schedule which in Palestine is on August 24, and in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria is September 1, 7 and 13 respectively.

Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also expressed his gratitude for the move, saying that he is “greatly relieved” that the Palestinian children can start the school year on time because “rights delayed are rights denied.”

People of Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia donated a total of $49 million to UNRWA. The rest of the funds came from the US, Switzerland, Sweden, Britain, Norway and Slovakia.

UNRWA, established in 1949, provides health and education services to some five million registered Palestinian refugees in various camps across the Middle East.

In July, the agency announced that it is planning to cut back aid to Palestinian refugees because of a severe lack of funding from international donors.

In its 50-day war on Gaza during last summer, the Israeli regime did not shy away from targeting Palestinian schools and destroyed more than two dozen of them. The relentless attacks also left 232 more schools damaged in the besieged enclave.

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