15 September 2014
11 September, 0800hrs – 14 September, 0800hrs | issue 59
Past 24 hours: The situation in Gaza remains tense as the fourth week of the current ceasefire commenced. There is great uncertainty regarding what the future will hold and any decisions being made ahead of the reconstruction conference due to be held in Cairo on October 12. Civil unrest remains a significant threat and IDPs in the Middle Area have continued demonstrating against attempts to consolidate shelters. The consolidation process of UNRWA shelters is required so that buildings can be made available for school.
PHOTO ESSAY: 241,000 children head back to UNRWA schools; commence new school year in Gaza
As part of the Agency’s recognition that education is fundamental to helping each child achieve his or her full potential, UNRWA is committed to provide quality education. Following a delay of almost three weeks due to the ongoing emergency, 252 UNRWA schools have opened their doors for 241,000 students in order to commence the new school year.
On 14 September, Commissioner General Pierre Krähenbühl visited the Gaza Strip to celebrate the start of the new school year. During his visit, he attended an opening ceremony held at the Abu Tue'ma school in Khan Younis and shared words of encouragement and inspiration with the children of Gaza.
The Agency is committed to supporting the children of Gaza in returning to school. As part of its innovative three-phase “back to school” approach, 7,800 UNRWA teachers received training in order to provide psychosocial support to children in the classroom, as well as address their own psychosocial needs.
Lower elementary teacher Suhair El Baz works at Asma Elem Co-Ed school. She affirms: “We invest tremendous efforts to help get children back on track through implementation of the psychosocial support training. I notice students are responding in a good way and are interactive at school. I expect that vast majority of students will return to normal learning, in time and in accordance with the three-phase plan.”
One of the students returning to school is Sara. She is a 9 year old student in the third grade. On being back at school, she says: “I love being at school and to be out of the sadness at home, which reminds me of the loss of my 11 year old brother Asad. During the war we evacuated our home and moved in with relatives. He took his doves with him and when he climbed to the roof to water them, he was killed by shrapnel due to shelling of a neighbouring house. I enjoy the recreational activities at school.”
UNRWA’s counselling and support provided to teachers, parents and students will continue throughout the school year. This includes diversified teaching styles, opportunities to work in groups and peer support for teachers and other educationalists. Children will further benefit from multimedia platforms such as UNRWA TV and the Interactive Learning Programme (ILP). In addition, creative activities such as theatre for development are also part of the three-phase back to school programme.
The ceasefire holds.
Data on damage to UNRWA installations is based on preliminary information and subject to change based on further verification. UNRWA estimates that 118 installations have been damaged since 8 July 2014.
The revised flash appeal can be found here.