Hope and Optimism
for Palestinians in
the Next Generation

UNRWA UNRWA UNRWA image001 UNRWA John Barnes1 visit UNRWA John Barnes visit (8) copy UNRWA UNRWA Summer Games 2008 (11) copy
In 2006 Hoping formed a special alliance with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency in order to work together to highlight and raise awareness in the UK about the urgent issue of Palestinian refugee children.

This UN agency is unique in terms of its service and its contributions to the welfare and human development of four generations of Palestinian refugees. Established in 1950, and originally envisaged as a temporary organisation, UNRWA has gradually adjusted its programmes to meet changing needs, and today it is the main provider of basic services - including education, health, relief and social services - to over 4.4 million Palestinian refugees that are registered with UNRWA and live in the countries where UNRWA's mandate extends (Lebanon, Occupied Palestinian Terrirtories, Jordan and Syria).

UNRWA Yearbook, Hopes and Dreams

Friday 20th November 2009 saw the 20th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. But 20 years on, what difference has it made in the lives of hundreds of thousands of Palestine refugee children?

To mark the anniversary, Hoping, in partnership with the UN's Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) unveiled a project in which Palestine refugee school leavers across the Middle East took part in the creation of the region's first ever online video yearbook. This project captures their hopes and dreams and creates an online community, previously divided and scattered by decades of statelessness and exile. You can find out more about this initiative under the Projects page.

UNRWA Summer Games

With few recreational facilities and no school, the summer months can be a frustrating time for Gaza’s youth. In an effort to alleviate this, UNRWA started the Summer Games in 2007, providing educational and entertaining activities for almost 200,000 children for over 10 weeks.

For a number of years, as part of these Summer Games, Hoping sponsored excursions to Gaza's first archaeological museum where children have the opportunity to learn about Gaza's rich cultural past.

UNRWA at Cannes

At the 62nd Cannes Film Festival in 2009, Hoping sponsored the screening of a short one minute film in support of UNRWA's work in Gaza during the recent bombardment there. To watch the film search 'Cannes Film Festival' on the projects page. 


In 2008 Hoping invited John Barnes, legendary Liverpool and England footballer, to Gaza Strip to be the special guest at the closing ceremony of the UNRWA Summer Games. John joined over 11,000 young people in the Palestine Stadium in Gaza City, where he played a mini football match with two teams of children, danced the traditional Palestinian dabke with a group of boys and his son Jamie, and watched the celebrations at the Games’ closing ceremony.

Barnes gave an inspirational speech to the children of Gaza attending the event. "All you need, all anyone needs, is an opportunity to show what you can do," he said. "If I use football as an example," he added; "you can look at the greatest players in the world, Pele, Diego Maradona, Zinedine Zidane, they were just like you, growing up in an area with a field and a ball. But they had the right beliefs and the right desires. So regardless of your circumstances, wherever you happen to be, you keep that in your heart; that desire, that belief, that dedication and that discipline - and you can achieve anything you choose!"

In 2007 Hoping organised a trip to occupied Palestine with British film director, Stephen Frears, visiting HOPING activities in Balata and Qalandia refugee camps as well as UNRWA officials and facilities. The delegation met UN humanitarian officers that work in the occupied Palestinian territories, as well as Palestinian filmmakers and artists.

"Until I saw it with my own eyes, I did not fully understand what occupation meant. Going to Palestine changed my life. I was so shocked by what I saw and so impressed by the children I met in Balata camp, who somehow, against all adversity, remained positive and hopeful about the future"
- Stephen Frears

We believe that providing an opportunity for people to see for themselves the daily reality, and witness at first hand the obstacles impeding everyday life under military occupation, is the most useful and direct means for them to learn more about the situation.


The Hoping for UNRWA committee has organised a number of events to raise awareness in the UK about UNRWA's work with Palestinian refugee youth. In 2007, a dinner was hosted by Jemima Khan for Karen Koning AbuZayad, then Commissioner General of UNRWA. In 2009 a lunch was held in London for John Ging, UNRWA's Director of Gaza Field.