Italy contributed EUR 1.5 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) to support the provision of emergency education to vulnerable Palestine refugee children in Yarmouk camp, Syria. Yarmouk camp, once home to 160,000 Palestine refugees, sustained severe destruction due to the conflict. Despite heavy damage to a majority of UNRWA service installations,1 4,000 refugees have returned to the camp and lack basic services.
This grant from the Government of Italy will rehabilitate a UNRWA school that has sustained heavy damage. Currently, UNRWA transports students from Yarmouk to a government school in a neighboring town. Once rehabilitated, the school will provide continued access to quality, inclusive and equitable education to the children of the camp.
“Italy appreciates UNRWA’s efforts towards access to education for the children in Yarmouk camp. Throughout the years, Italy has granted its support to the education and health activities for vulnerable Palestinians and Syrians living in the area,” said Massimiliano D’Antuono, Chargé d’Affaires of the Italian Embassy in Damascus.
“Considering the difficult access to fuel and its increasing price in the Country, we consider as more efficient and more protection-sensitive to support the light rehabilitation and equipment of the school inside the camp, instead of providing transportation costs for children to access out-of-the camp schools. This project strengthens, therefore, Italian Cooperation intervention by reducing the distance and increasing access to education,” continued Alessandra Piermattei, AICS Director for Lebanon and Syria
“I extend sincere gratitude to the Italian Cooperation for the very critical funding to UNRWA in Syria toward the rehabilitation of the school in Yarmouk, which will allow over 600 students to attend school in the camp,” Amanya Michael-Ebye, Director of UNRWA Affairs in Syria, declared.
He added that the number of students enrolled tripled since the last school year. Numbers are expected to continue increasing as more Palestine refugees return to their houses in Yarmouk since they can no longer afford skyrocketing rental fees outside the camp.
Italy has been a dedicated and reliable partner of UNRWA since 1954. In 2021, and despite the severe impact of COVID-19 on its national economy, Italy was the 16th largest donor to UNRWA, allowing the Agency to continue to provide cash assistance and protection services to Palestine refugees in Syria as part of the UNRWA Syria Regional Crisis Emergency Appeal.