Malaysian Prime Minister launches fund for children in Gaza
PUTRAJAYA, 26 February 2009 - Malaysia’s Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has launched a humanitarian fund to support actions by the United Nation’s Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for children and their families who survived the recent conflict in Gaza.
Datuk Seri Abdullah, who is patron of the Humanitarian Fund for the Children of Gaza, believes that the fund is an opportune platform for Malaysians to show their support for children: "Whatever amount they give, it comes from their heart. It is very important. A lot of people would like to help."
Initiated by the Association of Wives of Ministers and Deputy Ministers (BAKTI), the Police Families Association (Perkep), the Armed Forces Family Welfare Association (BAKAT) and the Association of Wives and Women Civil Servants (Puspanita), the Fund has already raised RM 320,000 (US$ 89,136) from various donors.
BAKTI, Puspanita, Perkep, BAKAT as well as the Executive Producer of the ‘Puteri Gunung Ledang the Musical’ Datin Seri Tiara Jacquelina each donated RM 50,000 (US$ 13,928) during the launch of the Fund, while Malaysia’s Inland Revenue Board contributed RM 70,263.55 (US$ 19,572).
The Prime Minister added that the fund will be run until the end of this year and would be used by UNICEF to nurse injured children, as well as to return the young into the education system. Joining him at the launch was his wife Datin Seri Jeanne Abdullah, who is also President of BAKTI.
Getting children back to school
UNICEF Representative to Malaysia and Special Representative to Brunei, Mr. Youssouf Oomar, welcomed the Prime Minister’s commitment and support of UNICEF’s efforts to facilitate the return of hundreds of thousands of children to school in Gaza.
“We are truly grateful to the Prime Minister and the people of Malaysia for their trust in UNICEF. UNICEF is providing essential educational equipment and materials to re-establish learning and recreational activities, create safe environments, and help restore a sense of normalcy for children in Gaza,” said Mr. Youssouf. “The return to school provides an important opportunity for children to interact, play, rebuild their routines, and overcome distress.”
On 26 January, UNICEF supplied Gaza with 130 school-in-a-box kits, which include items such as exercise books, pens and pencils, to cater for 10,400 school-aged children. In addition, UNICEF provided 84 recreational kits, containing sports and other entertaining items, for 6,720 children, 42 Mathematics and 42 Science kits for 4,200 students. UNICEF has also supplied the Ministry of Education with 12,000 water bottles targeting an equal number of school students. UNICEF and Save the Children US are the lead agencies for education.
Children make up over half of the 1.4 million people in Gaza. Some 430 children were killed, and 1,855 children were injured during the 23-day conflict.
NOTE TO EDITORS
UNICEF’s actions to restore education for children in Gaza will include:
a) Immediate after crisis Education in Gaza (US$ 2,022,300)
b) Back to School in Gaza (US$ 6,000,000)
24 January 2009:
Crisis in Gaza
UNICEF Malaysia's Representative Appeal