Gaza children to benefit from $3m educational push

UAE foundation Dubai Cares launches programme to support UNRWA-run schools for Gaza's children

Hundreds of thousands of children in Gaza are to benefit from a $3m educational programme launched on Monday by the UAE foundation Dubai Cares.

The scheme, carried out in partnership with United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), aims to bolster access to education in the war-torn region and repair some of the damage caused during the recent devastating seven-week conflict with Israel.

More than 175,000 children enrolled in 151 UNRWA-run schools will receive weekly arts and sports classes, structured around psychosocial counselling. A further 1,620 students will receive counselling to help ease the impact of the recent hostilities, in which more than 2,150 Palestinians died and much of Gaza’s vital infrastructure was destroyed.

The programme will also fund the construction of a 20-classroom school in Gaza to provide primary and lower-secondary education to 1,500 students.

“Palestine already had significant systemic issues affecting the quality of education. The additional limits on finances, the growing student population, and the ongoing political instability, have all impacted the educational process,” said Tariq Al Gurg, chief executive officer, Dubai Cares. “Palestinian children need the security of education in order to grow their skill set and rise above the challenges they face.”

Israel and Palestine have fought three wars in six years. The last round of US-brokered peace talks between the two, presided over by US Secretary of State John Kerry, floundered in April. International donors earlier this month pledged more than $5bn to fund Gaza’s reconstruction during a conference in Cairo, with Qatar committing $1bn to the cause. The total, which included $212m from the US and $200m each from Kuwait and the UAE, exceeded the $4bn appealed for by the Palestinian Authority to rebuild Gaza.

“We need to wake up to the situation in Gaza and prepare for the long-term impact of the current uncertain and volatile situation on its children,” said Al Gurg. “The time has come for the international community to mobilize resources, and ensure that schools have the capacity and the right capabilities to offer them quality education.”

Dubai Cares seeks to provide children in developing countries with access to primary education. Its programmes reach more than 10 million children in 35 nations.