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Source: United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
24 February 2008

PRESS RELEASE No 4/2008


UNRWA constructs girls dormitory and other facilities at Damascus training centre


European Commission Delegation Chargé d'Affaires, Mr. Loic Lallemand Zeller, attended today a ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of a new dormitory for girls and new classrooms at the Damascus Training Centre, to the sound of Palestinian folklore dances.

The new facilities will be completed in time for the start of the 2008/2009 academic year and are part of a EUR 2,5 million four-year project, funded by the European Union. The Employment and Vocational Training Project aims to enhance the employability of Palestine refugees in Syria, by equipping them with technical skills and assisting them in finding jobs. Further plans for 2008 include the start of vocational courses in graphic design and mechatronics, the continuation of a series of short-term training courses, the strengthening of employment support in camps, and the introduction of business development services in Aleppo to assist new entrepreneurs to create their own businesses.

Thanking the European Union for its contribution, the Director of UNRWA Affairs in Syria, Mr. Panos Moumtzis, said: "It is important to ensure that Palestine refugee youth are well trained and have optimal opportunities for employment in a rapidly changing economic environment."

Mr. Lallemand said, "we hope to give young Palestinian refugees in Syria opportunities to actively develop their society and transform their personal commitment into tangible results."

Mr. Ali Mustafa, Director-General of the General Authority for Palestinian Arab Refugees, expressed appreciation to the European Union for its assistance to UNRWA, and to the Syrian government for its overall support to Palestine refugees living in Syria,.

The Damascus Training Centre is one of nine vocational training centres run by UNRWA in its area of operations, and is attended by more than 1,000 Palestine refugees, over 80% of whom find employment upon graduation.

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 440,000 Palestine refugees. The European Union has consistently been the largest single donor to UNRWA.

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