By: Sama (Zeriea) Anfous, Sima AlHamouri, Fadi Ghattas, Samar Zananiri
“We love sports and music, we’re cultured, we love life.”
Mohammad Assaf, 23, Khan Yunis Camp. First UNRWA Regional Youth Ambassador
Khan Yunis Camp – Gaza Strip, Palestine
Khan Yunis Refugee Camp is located about two kilometers from the Mediterranean coast, north of Rafah in Gaza. It lies west of the town of Khan Yunis, a major commercial centre and stopoff point on the ancient trade route to Egypt. *Photo courtesy of Diaa’ A;-Agha
After the 1948 war, 35,000 refugees took shelter in the camp, having fled their homes during the hostilities. Most were from the Be’er Shevaa area (South of Palestine). *Courtesy of UN Photo
Today, Khan Yunis Camp is home to nearly 72,000 refugees, who are living with poor infrastructure, unemployment, and lack of playgrounds. *Courtesy of UN Photo
UNRWA provides 139 primary health facilities, 3, 429 health staff, with around 4 million health services in Gaza Strip. Khan Yunis Camp has three health centers. *Courtesy of UN Photo
Khan Yunis has 25 schools, of which 22 are running on double shifts for 21% of the entire population. *Courtesy of UN Photo
Sudden Israeli airstrikes may occur near schools in Khan Yunis Camp. Luckily, students are trained to run to safety. *Courtesy of UN Photo
Thousands of Palestinian children fly kites at the beach of the northern Gaza Strip during a summer camp organized by the UNRWA in 2011. Palestinian children broke the world record in flying the largest number of kites. *Courtesy of UN Photo
Despite the dificulties, a smile of hope is still drawn on kids faces. *Courtesy of UN Photo
Almost 5 million registered Palestinian refugees have lived six decades in overcrowded areas with running sewage water in main streets, poverty, and continuous shortages of fuel, electricity and basic supplies.
Despite all of this, in 2012 the Palestinian youth had the highest percentage of literacy in the Arab region. They even hold four Guinness World Records! The latest record was for Eqbal Asa’d, a Palestinian refugee who became the youngest medical student in the world at age 14.
Last week we spoke to Mohammad Assaf, 23, of Gaza, recently named the first UNRWA Regional Youth Ambassador. Check out his story in the film below.