October 10, 2021
The United Nations Aid for Palestine Refugees in the Middle East (UNRWA) signed a cooperation and partnership agreement with the Akram Sbitany & Sons Company on the occasion of World Mental Health Day on October 10th. This partnership will support mental health projects for Palestinian refugee students in the Gaza Strip.
The agreement was signed by Mr. Karim Amer, UNRWA Director of Partnerships, and Mr. Omar Mazen Sbitany, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Sbitany.
Under the agreement, Sbitany, the largest electronics retailer in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, will launch a fundraising and awareness campaign among employees and customers in 31 of the company’s stores across the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and Gaza. The thirty day campaign ends with a Sbitany Management Match donation. These funds will support mental health programs in a number of UNRWA schools in Gaza.
Regarding the importance of strengthened partnerships, Mr. Amer said, “UNRWA is proud to partner with local partners and donors to provide more services to Palestine refugees in the Gaza Strip.”
Sbitany Deputy CEO, Mr. Omar M. Sbitany, said: âGiving back to the community is an integral part of our values ââand at the heart of our corporate social responsibility programâ WeCare âis a joint fund between Sbitany and its employees and customers who focus on giving back to the local community we belong to. We are proud to work with UNRWA to support this crucial initiative and shed light on mental health needs. “
The ongoing blockade and cycles of escalating violence have created a mental crisis that has affected two million Palestinian lives with trauma. The recent attack on Gaza has exacerbated the need for mental health services. UNRWA mental health service providers are at the forefront, working around the clock to support men, women and children who are suffering from the enduring effects of this violence. With group and individual consultations, in-school consultations with students and teachers and free crisis hotlines, the heroes without a cape give Palestine refugees the tools they need to not only survive, but also regain hope.
Of the two million Palestinians who live in the besieged Gaza Strip, around 70 percent are refugees who rely on UNRWA humanitarian aid. The long-standing blockade has pushed large parts of the population below the poverty line. During the last 11 days of fighting, Palestine refugees fought the COVID-19 pandemic, a fragile economy, internal separation, insecurity and a lack of future prospects for an end to the blockade.