Qatar Foundation’s Reach Out To Asia (ROTA) and Islamic Relief Worldwide celebrated the closing of the project Improving Educational Access and Quality project targeting Palestinian students in the Gaza Strip.
The initiative was launched in June 2009, when ROTA and Islamic Relief Worldwide inked a Memorandum of Understanding to cooperate on the implementation of rehabilitating 22 schools in Gaza, some of which were severely damaged. Total project budget was $5.7 million of which $4.7 million funded by ROTA and $1 million by Islamic Relief donors in the UK and Middle East. The project aims to provide access to a safe and healthy learning environment for Gazan children, while at the same time, improving the quality of the education by providing teacher training based on an assessment of their needs.
“Students in Gaza Strip suffered an inconvenient educational environment over the past years. So this project came to improve the quality of education in Gaza through the provision of safe, healthy and adequate learning environments for students,” said Islamic Relief Palestine Country Director, Dr. Mohammed Alsousi.
The project implementation lasted for two years and provides better facilities for schools including libraries, science laboratories, technology rooms and computer training facilities as well as psychosocial support, counseling, and health rooms.
“The positive impact that this project has had in the Gaza Strip is incredible,” said Mr. Essa Al Mannai, ROTA Director. “The numbers speak for themselves: over 21,000 people, including students, teachers and laborers, were direct beneficiaries. Furthermore, because of the nature of this project, more than 120,000 family members indirectly benefited from this project. The key for ROTA is all projects that we are involved in have to have a sustainable impact, and the Gaza ‘Improving Educational Access and Quality’ initiative will continue to positively affect the community for many years to come.”
Mr. Al Mannai also handed out gifts to the Gazan children. “These gifts are tokens to show that the children of Gaza will always be in our hearts and minds in their difficult situation,” added Mr. Al Mannai.
This is not the first time that either ROTA or Islamic Relief have been involved in the Palestinian Territories. In the aftermath of the devastating conflict that shook Gaza in 2008, ROTA donated one million dollars for immediate disaster relief, and together with other partners, initiated the ‘Safe Areas for Emergency Education’ for Gazan children. Also with the support of ROTA , Islamic Relief is currently implementing another project is Gaza to provide mental health support for children and their families. “ROTA and Islamic Relief are committed to the Gaza Strip,” added Dr. Alsousi. “This joint initiative is a testament to that.”
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