ABU DHABI, --The UAE announced on Wednesday the new donation of AED 55 million (US$15 million) to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) to support the education system of the UNRWA in the Gaza Strip.

The move aims to ensure students get a basic education in an appropriate school environment through UNRWA schools.

The UAE's grant will strengthen the educational process in the Gaza Strip, including the development of curricula and education skills through the provision of various types of educational materials. In addition, the grant will also cover the salaries of nearly 820 teachers, education staff and operating costs of 20 schools located in different areas in the Gaza Strip for the academic year 2016/2017.

The grant will also enable UNRWA to provide a safe learning environment for the children of Palestinian refugees by maintaining school facilities clean and healthy.

It includes the provision of educational materials and distribution of stationery, schoolbags and other items for all students of Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip. The grant will relieve the students and their parents of additional financial burden with the beginning of each academic year, especially since many families in the Gaza Strip suffer from extreme poverty.

On this occasion, Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashemi, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation, said, "The UAE is committed to providing support and assistance to Palestinian refugees to prepare young people for future. And we will continue to work with our partners in the UNRWA to provide the necessary support and protection of the right to education for children and young people."

UNRWA is an important partner to achieve the goals. And we look forward to enhancing our joint efforts to support the urgent humanitarian issues, she said.

The total of the UAE aid to Palestine since 2011 to date has so far touched US$445 million US dollars. The UAE offers a voluntary contribution worth $1.8 million annually to UNRWA. It has become since December 2014, a consulting member of UNRWA in the steering committee for resource mobilisation. With this additional support, the UAE's aid to UNRWA from 2011 has so far amounted to $85 million.

The Commissioner-General of the UNRWA, Pierre Krahenbuhl, extended his thanks to the UAE on the significant role it plays in the region and in particular with regard to the issue of refugees. The great support the UAE has been providing to Syria and Gaza made a big difference in the refugees' lives and eased their suffering, he added.

He noted that the UAE is the third largest donor of emergency appeal for Syria, and has long been the biggest interested and supportive of the education programme, which constitutes the bulk of UNRWA programmes, and the main axis that preserves the identity of the Palestinian refugees.

Krahenbuhl added that the UAE donations opened the way for millions of Palestine refugees to get a better education, live a healthier life, get access to employment opportunities, improving their living conditions, and thus contributing to the development of the entire region.

"We are grateful to the UAE government and people for their generous donations to the Palestinian refugees. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all non-governmental institutions and UAE companies that offer support and generous contributions to UNRWA projects in all fields."

UNRWA operates more than 267 school in Gaza that provide education services to approximately 263, 000 children of Palestinian refugees taught by nearly 8, 700 teachers, mostly refugees themselves.

Source: Emirates News Agency