Palestinian students ‘compelled to drop dreams because of financial cuts’

UNRWA/Khalil Adwan UNRWA students from Ar Rimal and A-Zeitoun schools, during an interview with UN News in Gaza.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.

For students attending schools funded by the UN relief agency for Palestine refugees, (UNRWA), uncertainty over the future has become a constant worry, said the agency’s Director of Operations in Gaza, Matthias Schmale.

UNRWA faced an unprecedented financial crisis during 2018 that threatened the provision of essential services to millions of Palestine refugees, including more than 500,000 school students. Although sufficient funds were provided to reopen classrooms in September, there are no guarantees that 2019 will be any easier.

The agency’s 711 schools provide free basic education for Palestinian refugee children in the West Bank – including East Jerusalem – Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. But despite reopening after a long summer break, UNRWA was forced to take some difficult decisions which had a direct impact on the students’ daily lives.

UN News’s Reem Abaza was recently in Gaza where she visited the Ar Rimal girls’ school, where UNRWA launched its major global fundraising campaign last year called ‘Dignity is Priceless’ to address mainly education and health needs, and to ensure that the schools opened their doors.

“During the summer vacation we usually feel happy and enjoy our time, but last time we were afraid wondering if UNRWA might close or we might not be able to go to school”, said Raghd, a 6th grade student.

Hada, 14, stated that when school began “everybody was very anxious”, and that when they “knocked on the door of the social counselor asking for support, they were reminded that she was no longer there”. In several schools, the position of social counselor was abolished due to financial constraints.

“The school is trying as much as it can to teach us in a hands-on method, and in past years when we studied chemistry we used to do experiments. I have dreams to be something big in the future, but I have to cut those dreams down because of the situation we live in now”, Eva, 14, told UN News.

Those concerns were shared with other students from the neighboring A-Zeitoun school for boys.

UNRWA’s Director of Operations in Gaza, Matthias Schmale, said he “understood the concerns of the students very clearly, but that their determination also serves as a source of inspiration”.

“A very moving moment very recently was when a girl called Jenin, who is part of our school parliament here in northern Gaza, came to me and said that in January when we launched the ‘Dignity is priceless’ campaign I gave her an UNRWA pin,” he said.

“She told me that in ‘the dark moments when we didn’t know if the school year would open on time’, she looked at this pin, and it gave her courage, hope and optimism”. Then she gave me a little black bracelet and asked me to look at it, when I would feel uncertain.”

UNRWA operations have been hit hard by the United States decision at the beginning of 2018 to cut back its funding of the Agency by around $300 million. That constituted the largest ever reduction in funding in UNRWA’s history.

UNRWA was established by the General Assembly in 1949 to provide assistance and protection to a population of some five million registered Palestine refugees in various countries throughout the Middle East. Apart from schooling, it provides relief and social services, camp infrastructure and upgrading, health care and emergency assistance as needed.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

From the Field: Women push for peace

Why medical students decide to study abroad?

As children in Ebola-affected areas of DR Congo head back to school, UNICEF ramps up support

Human rights breaches in Azerbaijan and Sudan

European Citizens’ Initiative: Commission registers ‘End the Cage Age’ initiative

New malaria vaccine trial in Malawi marks ‘an innovation milestone’, declares UN health agency

UN chief hopes for new agreement after Israel concludes international observation mission

UN chief urges top digital tech panel to come up with ‘bold, innovative ideas’ for an ‘inclusive’ future

Coronavirus: The truth against the myths

UN chief praises Malaysia’s death penalty repeal as ‘major step forward’

Mental health in the COVID-19 pandemic

Asylum seekers in Sri Lanka fear for their safety, in wake of Easter Sunday terror attacks

These 8 countries have perfect scores for women’s rights at work

Some 300,000 Venezuelan children in Colombia need humanitarian assistance; UNICEF looks to boost response funding

Yemen war: UN-backed talks to silence the guns due to begin in Stockholm

Why embracing human rights will ensure Artificial Intelligence works for all

4 ways digitisation can unlock Africa’s recovery

European Commission reacts to the US restrictions on steel and aluminium affecting the EU

This is how we can empower 8 billion minds by 2030

World Health Organisation and young doctors: is there any place for improvement?

This is why people live, work and stay in a growing city

A Sting Exclusive: “Technology for all, development for all: the role of ITU”, written by the Secretary General of the United Nations Agency

Τhe EU Refugee Crisis: a day in the life of a Refugee in Greece

EU budget agreement rejected by the European Parliament

Global Compact on Refugees: How is this different from the migrants’ pact and how will it help?

EU–Canada Summit: strengthening the rules-based international order

Africa’s future is innovation rather than industrialization

Living in the mouth of the shark: we are all refugees

Trump systematically upsets global order and trade: Where does this end?

Upgraded EU visa information database to increase security at external borders

Two-thirds of global drug deaths now from opioids: UN drugs report

Global aid appeal targets more than 93 million most in need next year

Health services for Syrian women caught up in war, foster safety and hope: UNFPA

How to push out of our comfort zones – an extract

Climate change: ‘A moral, ethical and economic imperative’ to slow global warming say UN leaders, calling for more action

Subsidiarity and Proportionality: Task Force presents recommendations on a new way of working to President Juncker

How Costa Rica’s environment minister talks to his daughter about climate change

Trump rejects Europe’s offer for zero car tariffs; he had personally tabled that idea in July

A Sting Exclusive: “Cybersecurity Act for a cyber-bulletproof EU”, by EU Vice-President Ansip

Ukraine turns again to the EU for more money

European Citizens’ Initiative: Commission registers ‘Stop Finning – Stop the trade’ initiative

‘Eden bonds’: how rewilding could save the climate and your pension

OECD tells Eurozone to prepare its banks for a tsunami coming from developing countries

What if the doctor become a patient?

What’s going on in Chernobyl today?

Tackling ‘deeply worrying’ global rise in anti-Semitism is a job for all societies everywhere, says UN chief

These are the world’s least – and most – corrupt countries

Time to measure up: 5 ways the fashion industry can be made more sustainable

Refugee crisis update: EU fails to relocate immigrants from Greece and Italy

Belgium eases lockdown with free train tickets for every citizen

Trade Barriers Report: EU continues to open up markets outside Europe in midst of rising protectionism

One-third of young people still optimistic despite COVID’s dramatic hit on education and jobs

Customs Union: New Action Plan to further support EU customs in their vital role of protecting EU revenues, prosperity and security

5 things you probably didn’t know about global health

How video games can reunite a divided world

Managing and resolving conflicts in a politically inclined group of team members

Sri Lankan authorities must work ‘vigorously’ to ease simmering ethno-religious tensions, urges UN rights expert

COP25: Support business efforts to tackle climate change, urges Guterres

Cohesion Policy after 2020: preparing the future of EU investments in health

Time to act together: Von der Leyen at the European Parliament July plenary

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s