In December 2018, as part of an Education in Emergencies project, the UNRWA education programme in Gaza held an awareness-raising session for some 1,744 parents across 17 schools in the Gaza Strip.

Parental engagement is a vital component of the Agency-wide UNRWA Education in Emergencies (EiE) initiative. The full implementation of EiE is shouldered by parents and guardians who ensure the continuation of education both at home or in alternative spaces. During these sessions, parents have the opportunity to engage more actively with the content of their childrens’ education. They are able to explore the ways in which they will be able to further support the educational and psychosocial wellbeing of their children.

In Gaza, the sessions focus on topics such as the safety and security of UNRWA schools, psychosocial support for children, and the UNRWA Self-Learning Programme. Parents and caregivers learned more about the safety measures put in place for the protection of their children at school in cases of emergencies. They were also briefed on how they can support such measures, in addition to the importance of psychosocial support for their children in the aftermath of emergencies. The sessions also included a comprehensive study of the UNRWA Self-Learning Programme, including an introduction to the UNRWA TV channel (on YouTube).

Hanan Shaggoura, the mother of a student at the UNRWA Beach Basic Co-educational School ‘C’, participated in one of the awareness sessions and noted, “It was a very valuable session that included useful information regarding safety measures and emergency procedures implemented in UNRWA schools. It made me feel much more assured about my daughter’s school environment.” “I really hope that these sessions continue on a regular basis. They will keep parents aware of the educational process and improve communication and engagement between school and the community, especially in case of emergencies,” Hanan added.

During the 2018-2019 school year, a total of 278,938 UNRWA students are enrolled in 274 UNRWA basic and preparatory schools across Gaza. The UNRWA education programme in Gaza is the largest network of schools across all five fields of UNRWA operations. This sizeable number of students, and the challenging context in which they live, highlights the importance of the EiE programme in helping to address the educational and psychosocial needs of Palestine refugee students. The UNRWA EiE programme is made possible through the generous support of donors like the Government of Belgium.

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