A Partnership Agreement has been signed by Mr Florentino Pérez, President of Real Madrid FC, and Mr Filipo Grandi, Commissioner General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, UNRWA. The signing took place in Santiago Bernabéu Stadium executive box.This Partnership Agreement will lead to the establishment of eight Social Sport Schools in Gaza Strip and the West Bank in which 10,000 Palestine refugee children will participate.

This evening Real Madrid Foundation and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA) have signed a Partnership Agreement to promote sports programmes in UNRWA schools that will contribute to improving the lives of Palestinian refugee children in the Middle East.

The event, which took place in the Royal Box of Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in Madrid was attended by Mr Filippo Grandi, UNRWA Commissioner-General and Mr Florentino Pérez, President of Realmadrid Foundation and Real Madrid FC, as well as Enrique Sánchez, Vice President of Realmadrid Foundation, and Raquel Martí, UNRWA Spanish Committee Executive Director.

“The education of new generations, who constitute the future, is the essential axis of Peacebuilding in the Middle East, said UNRWA Commissioner-General. Grandi added “With about 700 schools across the Middle East, UNRWA emphasizes quality education, access for all refugee children to a sound education, the learning of the principles of tolerance and respect, gender equality and self-improvement. This joint project that UNRWA and Real Madrid Foundation have undertaken promotes all these things”.

Mr Florentino Pérez added “The power of football and the grip of Real Madrid are a beautiful combination that should be present in the world of solidarity. It´s a honor for Real Madrid Foundation being in Palestine.” Mr. Florentino Pérez also asserted that: “In Real Madrid, we are convinced that this work in Palestine is an open door to future and deep collaborations”. Mr Florentino Pérez also thanked UNRWA and its worked for their ”effort, compromise and work”.

Eight Social Sports Schools in Gaza Strip and the West Bank

Realmadrid Foundation and UNRWA will jointly implement eight Social Sports Schools in Gaza and the West Bank which will benefit more than 10,000 Palestine refugee children.

This project will give Palestine refugee children the opportunity to practice sports and learn values such as teamwork and to increase their self-esteem. In addition, they will enjoy a fundamental right: the right to play.

This project is all the more important as refugee children are daily surrounded by armed conflict context. The chance to participate in sport activities with some of the greatest football stars in the world, led by Real Madrid Foundation is an extraordinary and much valued opportunity for the refugee children of Gaza and the West Bank.

Children in Gaza and the West Bank

Today, almost a third of world refugees are Palestinian. UNRWA provides assistance to nearly 5 million Palestine refugees who are still waiting for a just and durable solution to their plight.
More than 71% of Palestinian refugees are children and teenagers. Almost 3.5 million of the 5 million refugees who live in Gaza Strip, the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan are under 18 years.

Furthermore, the lives of several thousand refugee children are affected by the conflict which deprives them of their most essential rights.

UNRWA and Education
In this context, UNRWA is one of the largest providers of education in the Middle East. It provides education to half a million children with around 22,000 teachers in about 700 schools.

UNRWA’s Education Programme provides education for future generations of Palestine refugees. This is in line with UNRWA’s commitment to the first  UN Millennium Development Goal: to ensure universal primary education.

UNRWA, United Nation Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees

After more than 60 years of exile and stateless condition, refugees’ living conditions has been aggravated. UNRWA administers 58 refugee camps providing assistance, protection and defence to 4.9 million Palestine refugees in Gaza Strip, the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria while they wait for a pacific and lasting solution to their difficult situation.

UNRWA Spanish Committee aim is to support UNRWA humanitarian programmes and, in Spain, raise public awareness of Palestine refugees’ situation.

It is worth mentioning that Real Madrid Left Wing, Christiano Ronaldo, donated his sports shoes, won as the top scorer in 2010/2011 season Europe with 40 goals, to the Palestinian children of Gaza. The Striker had a new advertisement for his new US-Nike boot at which the event turned out in public auction.