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Source: USAID West Bank & Gaza
21 April 2005

A Kindergarten for Tal El Sultan and A Youth Club for Buriej Refugee Camp
This was originally published as a press release on April 21, 2005.

RAFAH, Gaza - A new kindergarten for Tal El Sultan and a youth activity club for the Buriej Refugee Camp officially opened their doors Wednesday thanks to contributions from the American people.

The kindergarten will serve the 25,000 people living in and around the Tal El Sultan area of Rafah while the youth activity club will bring a much needed facility to the 40,000 residents of Buriej.

The American people donated $35,533 toward the cost of the 149-square-meter kindergarten while the community contributed the land and construction oversight. The youth club was made possible by a $28,300 donation from the Americans and the community contributed land, $1000 in cash and construction oversight.

The new kindergarten boasts three classrooms, three toilets, a small cafeteria and an administration room. The outside playground was renovated and the facility was equipped with desks, chairs and electrical appliances such as television sets, a cassette recorder, a refrigerator and a VCR.

Already, 60 children are enrolled at the kindergarten and that number is expected to more than double next year, since it is the first and only kindergarten facility in the area. At the modern facility, each small child is encouraged to learn to observe, listen and think independently. In the evenings, the kindergarten is used as a community center for women's activities and awareness courses.

The new kindergarten is managed by the Union of Women Committees for Social Work, which already runs 14 kindergartens serving 1,200 children in different parts of the Gaza strip. It will cover its running costs with fees collected from parents.

The 85-square-meter youth activity center includes a meeting room, four activity rooms, a kitchen, toilets and a secretary's room.

Buriej is one of Gaza's poorest refugee camps. The youth center will serve an average of 500 children, both boys and girls, each day.

"The Bureij Youth Club was constructed to provide a safe area for young people to spend their spare time, to read, to develop their talents in sports and to explore cultural activities," said Project Engineer Wael El Sayegh, who represented USAID at both inaugurations. "The club's staff is well trained and experienced. Most people working at the club are volunteers."

Both projects were implemented by Catholic Relief Services (CRS) for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The kindergarten construction project generated 435 person-days of employment and the youth club generated another 442 person-days of employment.

USAID has spent more than $1.5 billion in the West Bank and Gaza to combat poverty, create jobs, improve education, build roads and water systems, construct and equip medical clinics, and promote good governance.

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