Qatar’s Foreign Ministry announced on Wednesday a $40 million grant to support the education sector in the Gaza Strip to be administered through the “Fakhura” programme of the Qatari initiative “Education Above All”, helping to re-build and equip schools and universities effected by the recent Israeli war on the Gaza Strip, as well as offering international scholarships for students wishing to pursue advanced studies in the disciplines prioritised by the sector, Anadolu news agency reported.
A press statement issued by the Qatar Fund for Development, which is affiliated with the Qatari foreign ministry, noted that this donation would also be used to support training programmes for professionals in both the education and the health sectors, and would double the number of Palestinians in Gaza already benefiting from scholarships offered by the Fakhura programme for graduate students.
The Director General of the Qatar Fund for Development, Dr Ahmed bin Mohammed Al-Marikhy, explained that this contribution would support the efforts made to repair the damage caused to the eight universities in the Gaza Strip during Israel’s latest military assault on the besieged enclave, pointing out that the greatest damages were to the Islamic University and the University College of Applied Sciences, according to the statement that was also sent to Anadolu.
On 7 July 2014, Israel launched an offensive on the Gaza Strip that lasted for 51 days and left more than 2,157 Palestinians dead – the vast majority of them civilians – and more than 11,000 injured, according to Palestinian medical sources. It also resulted in the complete destruction of 9,000 homes and the partial destruction of another 8,000 others, according to statistics of the Palestinian Ministry of Public Works and Housing.
According to the Palestinian Ministry of Education in Gaza, the war waged by Israel on the Gaza Strip left 244 schools damaged in the sector, including 70 schools that are affiliated with the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), and 174 public schools, where Israeli rockets resulted in the complete destruction of 26 of them.
Al-Marikhy added that in addition to the reconstruction efforts, the Fakhura programme would also be supporting initiatives designed to provide psychological and social assistance to the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip.
The statement pointed out that the signing of the agreement to increase support for the Fakhura programme came after talks with the Qatar Development Fund, in which representatives of the programme gave an explanation about its work and achievements in the Gaza Strip. During the meeting, the programme’s representatives presented their estimates for the requirements to rebuild the educational facilities and clinics that had been destroyed or damaged during the recent Israeli war.
The chief executive officer of Education Above All, Marcio Barbosa, said that the donation from the Foreign Ministry and the Qatari government represents a major step towards achieving the objective of the Fakhura programme’s current goal in terms of the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the educational facilities in the Gaza Strip.
The Fakhura programme was launched after the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip in 2008/2009 as an initiative that is led by students who advocate for the protection of their education and who demand an end to the Israeli siege imposed on the Gaza Strip.