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UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl announced on August 16, 2018, that UNRWA's 711 schools will open on time this school year. This decision was made in an effort to not further disrupt the lives of half a million refugee children as well as taking into account the serious risks to regional stability if this were not the case (see the full statement).

While schools are set to open for now, there is no guarantee they will remain open. Despite reducing the deficit to $217 million since the funding crisis began in January, no additional large-scale contributions have come in. So at this time, UNRWA only has enough funding to run its services -- including its schools -- until the end of September.

UNRWA USA supporters can help protect the fundamental right to education for 526,000 Palestine refugee girls and boys. Your $100 donation can cover the education costs of an UNRWA student for a month as well as a back to school kit.

If you believe access to education for refugees is a right, not a privilege, please support our efforts to keep UNRWA classrooms open


The impact of the funding crisis on UNRWA schools

Since 1950, UNRWA has prioritized ensuring all Palestine refugee children have access to quality education, enabling them to develop skills to thrive as adults within a challenging socio-political landscape.

UNRWA does this by providing free, basic education to 526,000 Palestine refugee children at its 711 elementary and preparatory schools in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) the Gaza Strip, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. And not only did UNRWA schools achieve gender parity in the 1960’s, but UNRWA students’ literacy and levels of educational education are some of the highest in the Middle East.

All of that is now at risk due to the US government's cutting of UNRWA funding. Despite tireless efforts to make up for this massive shortfall and the fact that UNRWA has ensured that the school year will begin on August 29, 2018, as planned, UNRWA only has funding to run its services through October.

If UNRWA does not receive new funding fast, what's at stake in terms of education is:

  • the schooling, stability, and future of half a million refugee children who are already facing tremendous adversity and challenges.

  • UNRWA’s staff of school teachers, administrators, and counselors, primarily refugees themselves, who now risk unemployment, further destabilizing a precarious economy.

In a time when the Middle East faces protracted wars, massive displacement, and uncertainty, UNRWA schools provide stability, hope, and opportunities for the next generation of Palestinians. No other international or UN organization has the resources or capacity to absorb the work UNRWA does.

In light of this, UNRWA USA has launched this Back to School campaign with the aim of raising awareness of the critical and far-reaching work UNRWA does for education in the Middle East, what is at stake, and calls on Americans -- individuals and organizations -- to ensure these risks do not become a reality. 

join the Back to School campaign

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“Let us become the first generation to decide to be the last that sees empty classrooms, lost childhoods, and wasted potentials.” 

- Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Peace Laureate and Education Activist