The Rahmatan Lil Alamin Foundation (RLAF) raised some US$ 3.18 million for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in May 2021. The record-setting inaugural campaign in support of Palestine refugees through UNRWA reached this target over a nine-day period, thanks to the generous support of the People of Singapore. The fundraising campaign spanned from 22 to 30 June 2021.
The cheque was handed over to UNRWA to Ms. Tamara Alrifai, Acting Director of the UNRWA Department of External Relations and Director of Strategic Communications/Spokesperson by Mr. Esa Masood, Chief Executive of Islamic Religious Council of Singapore, Mr. Faizal Othman, Chief Executive Officer of RLAF and Po’ad Shaikh Abu Bakar Mattar, Chairman of RLAF, in a virtual ceremony.
This contribution will support UNRWA health and relief and social services programming for Palestine refugees in the besieged Gaza Strip. The campaign, organized with support from the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) and endorsed by the Second Minister of Foreign Affairs and Education, Dr. Mohamad Maliki Osman, was able to raise US$ 1 million the hours following its launch on 22 May.
“The plight of Palestine refugees impacted by the recent escalation of violence in Gaza touched the People of Singapore and they come in full force to help and demonstrate their compassion for all those affected. We thank you for your overwhelming support and solidarity with Palestine refugees,” said UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini.
“This is an important issue (for us) because we live in goodness and harmony in a multi-racial and multi-religious society in Singapore, but the situation is different in Palestine. So, this (RLAF humanitarian aid fund) is one of the platforms for the people here to show their concern and compassion to help and support the Palestinians who are suffering,” said Mr. Faizal Othman, RLAF CEO.
UNRWA has launched a US$ 164 million humanitarian and early recovery appeal following the recent hostilities in Gaza. The appeal outlines the needs for emergency shelter repairs, humanitarian assistance to displaced families and emergency repairs and maintenance of UNRWA installations. Also, funds will be required to temporarily subsidize rental payments for those Palestine refugee families whose shelters have been completely destroyed or damaged in the form of Transitional Shelter Cash Assistance.
UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA Programme Budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s Programme Budget. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals.
UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance.