UNHCR co-organized an event, hosted by the Office of International Cooperation of the Swiss Embassy, to celebrate World Refugee Day.
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, marked World Refugee Day, observed annually on June 20, and emphasized the right of everyone to seek safety.
An event co-organized and hosted by the Office of International Cooperation of the Swiss Embassy counted on the participation of the Minister of Social Solidarity and other key Egyptian government officials, representatives of the diplomatic and business community, United Nations agencies, non-governmental organizations, and celebrities who support refugees.
“Today is World Refugee Day, a day to honour the courage, strength, and contributions of the millions of people around the world who have been forced to flee their homes due to violence, war or persecution. Recently, we marked a grim milestone: the number of people forced to flee conflict, war, persecution and human rights abuses crossed the 100 million mark for the first time on record. We all share responsibility to protect people seeking safety and ensure the following five principles laid out in international law, are never violated,” said Mr. Pablo Mateu, UNHCR Egypt Representative.
Switzerland is one of UNHCR’s key governmental partners at the global level and home to the UN Refugee Agency’s headquarters. In addition to flexible funding, Switzerland also supports UNHCR’s work through emergency deployments of expert staff from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation providing technical advice in the fields of protection, shelter, cash assistance, water, sanitation and hygiene.
“Refugees and asylum-seekers need our support. Switzerland is contributing to this collective engagement together with the Government of Egypt and the main partners in Egypt and also by facilitating the coordination amongst partners. Today, we are pleased to provide the space to meet and exchange together for the sake of the refugees and for a common message of hope,” said Valérie Liechti, head of the International Cooperation Office, Embassy of Switzerland in Egypt.
During the event, UNHCR and the Al Alfi Foundation for Human and Social Development signed an agreement, to give access to 1,500 refugee children in Cairo to their STEM programme (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) throughout 2022. The STEM programme is supported and implemented by “1001 Inventions” an award-winning, British based organisation that creates international educational campaigns and initiatives aiming to spark young people’s interest in science.
The planned programme will offer fun experiential learning to help children discover the wondrous world of science and its relevance to their daily lives. Such creative learning experiences will help excite children about science, understand principles of experimentation and critical thinking. The programme will also help inspire hope in a better future for refugee children while providing means for positive self-expression. The program will be hosted by The GrEEK Campus – Cairo.
In 2021, through a pilot collaboration between UNHCR and AlAlfi Foundation, 123 refugee and asylum-seeker children benefited from the STEM programme for the first time.