Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation, in cooperation with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees "UNRWA" for the Palestinian refugees, decided to adopt and run a school in Beit Lahiya in the Gaza Strip carrying the name of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, head of the State "may God save and bless him."
The foundation has held several meetings with UNRWA to discuss the possibility of starting to support the educational process in Gaza after the recent war, which resulted, according to the sources of educational authorities in the Strip, in a partial destruction of all government schools and total destruction of some of them.
This project comes out of Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation keenness to stand with the Palestinian people in this difficult ordeal and to contribute to alleviating some of the human suffering experienced by Palestinians in Gaza under the Israeli blockade suffered by the people their especially their suffering in the fields of education and health.
HE Mohammed Hajji Al Khouri, Director General of Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation that the efforts exerted by the Foundation in Palestine are part of its commitment towards the Palestinian people in view of the difficult economic conditions they suffer from.
"We will spare no effort to strengthen this relationship between the Foundation and the international institutions and organizations to implement more humanitarian projects which support the weak and the needy, and lift the injustice for them and mitigate their suffering, he said.
HE Ambassador Peter Ford, Representative of the Commissioner-General of UNRWA, lauded the pioneering humanitarian initiatives and projects of Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation, especially its efforts in the fight against poverty, hunger, disease, emergency relief aids and development of vulnerable communities facing many challenges.
He expressed the "UNRWA" appreciation of the humanitarian efforts undertaken by the Foundation through the project of adopting and running a school in Beit Lahia .. He said that this project will alleviate a lot of the burden and suffering of the students and parents in this affected area.
He said that the Beit Lahia Elementary Boys School, which lies north of the Gaza Strip comprises 32 classrooms which accommodate 1288 students in the morning period and 161 male students and 1127 female students in the afternoon period of the first to fourth grades, and the number of teachers in the school amounts to 37 teachers and 17 part time teachers.
"UNRWA" grant students extra aid through the Schools of Excellence project which includes meals and summer educational programs and extra lessons in the difficult topics and supporting materials in order to simplify the curriculum.
Because of the lack of funding to provide additional teachers and facilities besides the ongoing blockade, about 90 per cent of UNRWA schools, work for two periods, which make the students, get an abridged education where the average number of students per class in Gaza reaches about 40 students.
The humanitarian reports and facts indicate that Israel is pursuing a policy of closure and siege against Gaza Strip where nearly 1,5 million people live since 2007; which prevents the arrival of essential materials to the residents of the besieged territory, including the denial of access and entry of construction materials such as cement, wood and glass, as well as prevent the entry of paper and the requirements of the education such as stationery including pens, notebooks, textbooks and other means of education, in addition to preventing the entry of essential medicines and medical supplies to maintain health.
The blockade contributed to about 50% paralysis which led to the disruption of educational sector movement which makes more than half of the students at all educational levels in the Gaza Strip unable to reach their schools and universities.
Given that 78% of the population lives below poverty line, many families have to use other alternatives for education, where they send their children to schools which share the same school uniform.
According to "UNRWA", thousands of students face darkness and coldness of winter nights in the unqualified and non-equipped schools which lack the minimum requirements of furniture and equipment.
The "UNRWA" noted to that half of the refugee community are less than 25 years, which puts tremendous pressures on the shoulders of UNRWA schools where nearly three-quarters of those schools work for two periods which reduces the time given to teaching as there are two separate schools sharing one school building on the same day.
It's worth mentioning that "UNRWA" is a relief and human development agency concerned with the provision of education, health care, social services and emergency aid to about 4,000,000 refugees living in Gaza Strip and the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.
The "UNRWA" is considered the biggest UN agency working in the Middle East and its staff amounts to nearly 24,000 employees, most of them are Palestinian refugees themselves, who work directly for the benefit of their communities as teachers, doctors, nurses and social workers.
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