A New Chapter: UNRWA honours 280 Class of 2019 Damascus Training Centre Graduates

22 October 2019
Graduates photographed during the UNRWA Damascus Training Centre Graduation Ceremony 2019. ©UNRWA photo by Taghrid Mohammad

Families, parents, friends and staff cheered as some 280 United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) Damascus Training Centre (DTC) students graduated from their vocational training programmes on 12 October 2019. A celebration ceremony was held in honour of the students, who were  graduating from 14 specializations this 2018-2019 academic year.   

Mr. Ali Mustafa, Director-General of the General Authority for Palestinian Arab Refugees (GAPAR) and Director of UNRWA Affairs in Syria, Mr. Amanya Michael Ebye, students’ families and community members were in attendance.

Addressing the crowd of graduates, Prinicpal of the Damascus Training Centre (DTC), Ms. Mirvat Abu Rashed welcomed family members and friends and provided graduates with inspirational words of congratulations, saying: “Your diplomas symbolize the hard work and dedication that you have shown over the past two years. We are very proud of your accomplishments and excited for your future,” Ms. Abu Rashed said.

Commending the graduates for their perseverance and determination to excel and achieve their dreams despite the severity of displacement and hardship as a result of the Syrian crisis, Director of UNRWA Affairs in Syria, Mr. Amanya Michael Ebye said: “Thanks to your hard work and diligence you are now entering a new stage in your lives. I am confident that you will use the skills and expertise you have acquired here at the DTC to create better lives for yourselves, your families and your community.” 

UNRWA vocational training centres provided trainees with industry standard know how to prepare them for on-the-job challenges they will face as they place into jobs in a variety of sectors. “We are here today to celebrate and recognize all of our accomplishments. My thanks and gratitude go the Principal of DTC, the instructors and staff who have who have devoted their professional lives to passing on skills and knowledge to a new generation of Palestine refugees. You have given these students here, the tools they need to build a better and bright future for themselves and their community.” Mr. Ebye added. He also thanked the Government of Syria and GAPAR for their support to UNRWA and the Palestine refugee community.

Congratulating the parents and students Mr. Mustafa, the GAPAR Director-General said: “We are very proud of the students’ accomplishments and are excited for their futures.” He expressed his thanks to the Government of Syrian for the many ways in which it supports UNRWA. He also voiced his solidarity and support to the strenuous efforts of UNRWA Commissioner-General, Mr. Pierre Krähenbühl to mobilize resources for UNRWA to continue to provide its services to Palestine refugees.

Speaking on behalf of her fellow graduates, ‘Ahed Zaidan expressed her gratitude to UNRWA for equipping young Palestine refugees with marketable skills and tools to assist them in fulfilling their full potential. “Today we reap the fruits of our hard work and start a new chapter in our lives.  Let me remind you when you get to the stage to receive your diplomas to think about the people who helped you get to this point, including parents, teachers, friends and others. As of today, we became partners in building the future of our homeland Palestine,” ‘Ahed said.

UNRWA promotes livelihoods by building the human capital of Palestine refugees and providing access to income generating opportunities and employment. Strengthening the capacities of Palestine refugees and providing them with the necessary skills to achieve their potential and access the job market is at the core of the Agency’s Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programme. Here, vocational training and technical education is provided through eight Vocational Training Centres for over 7,500 Palestine refugees across all five fields of Agency operation. At these facilities, UNRWA provides a range of long and short-term trade and professional courses, maintaining strong links with and relevance to local labour markets. Employment rates for TVET graduates are high, helping to mitigate youth unemployment.