The start of the new academic year is drawing near and parents across the country are getting their children ready for a new phase of learning.
This September in Gaza, children will not be going to school, because over 200 schools have been destroyed, 25 damaged and there are currently 300,000 displaced Palestinians sheltering in just 85 UNRWA schools as a result of the seven week assaults by the Israeli military. The main university in Gaza has been destroyed and the other two severely damaged.
The crisis has plunged thousands of Palestinians in to even deeper poverty than before. Almost every family is Gaza is mourning the loss of one or more relative, 500,000 people are displaced, the infrastructure destroyed and thousands of Palestinians are not getting access to healthcare, food and clean drinking water. Even if schools and universities were open, it is unlikely that students in Gaza would be able to attend.
In Lebanon and Jordan, poorly funded schools and a lack of opportunities outside the camps are taking their toll on the motivation of refugee children. Palestinian universities also suffer from insufficient funding to operate effectively.
Education has always been highly regarded by the Palestinian community and has been seen as a way to move beyond the refugee camps and the restrictions that Palestinians continue to face. Every child and young adult dreams about what they want to be when they grow up. It is their fundamental right to go to school in order to fulfil their aspirations.
Interpal is running an on-going advocacy campaign, each month raising awareness about the rights, enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that are denied to Palestinians. Our focus this month, is the right to an education.
We encourage all our donors to write to their local MP and demand that the latter supports the right of Palestinian children to access the education they desire and deserve.