UNRWA Open Day Showcases Youth and Economic Development Initiatives
UNRWA’s Open Day at the Damascus Training Centre today, 14 May, showcased its youth and economic development initiatives in support of Palestinian refugees, focusing on employment, vocational education and the microfinance and microenterprise.
Mr. Panos Moumtzis, Director of UNRWA Affairs in Syria stressed the importance of ensuring Palestine refugee youth have the skills to productively participate in Syria’s growing economy. He also highlighted the conducive environment created by the Syrian government as well as the need for private sector support for UNRWA’s efforts.
UNRWA provides a range of two-year vocational training courses to some 1000 students per year at its Damascus Training Centre. Eighty six percent of these students find employment upon graduation. The Centre plans to introduce new courses in graphic design and mechatronics in the coming school year and has recently built a dormitory for female students.
Other important elements of UNRWA’s economic empowerment of Palestine refugees are a growing microfinanace programme that has lent USD 9 million since 2003 and employment guidance support in five job centres.
Dr. Tayseer Riddawi, Head of the Syrian State Planning Commission, highlighted the key role of youth and the challenges that lie ahead of them. He also thanked UNRWA for being an effective partnership in economic development in Syria.
Mr. Ali Mustafa, Director-General of the General Authority for Palestine Refugees (GAPAR), thanked the Syrian Government for its continued support to Palestine refugees and commended the cooperation between UNRWA and GAPAR.
The Day was attended by some 300 members of the Syrian business community and members of the diplomatic donor community.
UNRWA is a humanitarian and human development Agency providing education, health care, social services, micro-credit and emergency relief to over 4 million registered refugees living in the Gaza Strip, West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic. In Syria, the Agency provides assistance to over 450,000.
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