The Swiss Development and Cooperation Agency contributes
to the recovery of Palestine refugees in Lebanon
Beirut, 5 March 2007:
The Swiss Development and Cooperation Agency have contributed more than US$ 1 million to
UNRWA’s Early Recovery Plan to assist Palestine refugees to recover from the July-August war. The
funds are earmarked for a series of projects, including the reactivation of small businesses, psychosocial
support and post-traumatic counselling for school children, as well as a market needs survey of
the Palestinian labour force and many other projects.
During his recent trip to Lebanon, the Head of Humanitarian Aid at the Swiss Development and
Cooperation Agency (SDC), Mr. Toni Frisch, visited Palestinian beneficiaries in south Lebanon.
Frisch met with Mr. Bassam Shihadeh, a beneficiary from Ein El Hilweh refugee camp, who received
US$ 800 from SDC to repair his van, which was severely damaged during the July-August war. Mr.
Shihadeh, a father of eight, bought his van, which he uses to sell sweets, with a loan from UNRWA. On
14 August, while he was in Ein El Hilweh camp, his van was severely damaged by shelling. It was only
possible for him to repair it through the grant from the SDC.
Mr. Shihadeh was one of 44 Palestine refugees who received assistance from SDC to reactivate their small businesses, throughout Lebanon.
Mr. Frisch and the accompanying delegation also met students at UNRWA’s Training Centre who are
enrolled in rapid skills training courses established with a contribution by the Swiss Government of US$
256, 410. The courses will enhance the employability of unskilled Palestinian labourers in a variety of
construction related courses including plumbing, carpentry, electrical fittings, painting and tile setting. It
is intended that this training will enable Palestinian labourers to quickly meet the needs of the market
as they contribute to the massive reconstruction projects that have emerged after the widespread
destruction of the July-August war.
The Swiss Government has been a major donor of UNRWA’s projects and General Fund for many
years. In addition to the Early Recovery Plan contribution, the Swiss Government is also funding a study
on the Employability of Palestine refugees in Lebanon.
Not an official document