AMMAN: Ayman Firwan is hoping to win a scholarship to complete his higher studies in business administration in Japan.
Firwan, who was born and has lived all his life in the Husn refugee camp for Palestinian refugees — 100 kilometers north of Amman — was excited when he saw a public notice on the website of the Japanese embassy in Jordan.
The call said that the ministry of education, culture, science and technology in Japan was making an offer to Palestinian refugees.
Firwan is not the only person who has the potential to benefit from the support given by the Japanese government.
The offer made by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is part of a project called “Improving the living conditions of Palestinian refugees.”
The program aims to support men and women in Palestinian refugee camps to find a livelihood.
The Japanese development agency has held a number of training workshops with the Husn camp to improve the lives of refugees and their families.
In addition to providing higher education and self-help training worships, the aim is to ensure that Palestinian refugees are able to work and that women can find careers that ensure a decent livelihood.
Extremely poor Palestinian refugee families receive food packages distributed by the local camp committee to help them to survive.
“The JICA program for Palestinian refugees fights poverty,” Khalil Attiyah said.
Attiyeh, a popular member of Jordan’s parliament, was born in the Hussein refugee camp just north of the capital Amman.
He told Arab News that the JICA program “fights poverty for families in the camp and especially women who are unable to work outside and therefore it provided them income while working in their homes.”
The Japanese government donated $23 million to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) this year. Of that amount, $17.7 million will be spent on central agency programs including education, health and improving work conditions.
UNRWA supports 5.4 million Palestinians in five Middle East countries: Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Gaza and the West Bank.
Jumana Ghneimat, the Jordanian minister of media affairs and government spokeswoman, expressed her government’s appreciation of the support Japan is giving to UNRWA, especially in the health sector that serves the two million Palestinians who moved to Jordan during the 1948 and 1967 wars.
Ghneimat said that this support “reflects the humanitarian stand” that Japan has always expressed on issues of human rights and refugees.
The Jordanian official said that support of UNRWA ensures that it is able to carry out its responsibilities. “UNRWA is providing humanitarian aid toward more than five million Palestinian refugees in accordance with the international mandate.”
Ghneimat said that support for the work of UNRWA “is support for the rights of the refugees to live in dignity.”
Sami Mushasha, spokesman for UNRWA in Jerusalem, told Arab News that the Japanese government has been “very generous” toward the agency.
“Japan has supported UNRWA since 1953 and is one of the top ten partners to our agency.” Mushasha said that in 2018 Japan’s overall support reached $45 million and was the highest amount given by Japan in any year.
“This support came at a crucial time when UNRWA was facing its most severe financial crisis.”
The UN spokesperson said that since 1973, Japan has been a member of UNRWA’s advisory committee and has supported UNRWA in carrying out its work.
“As a result of the continuous support of donors such as Japan, UNRWA has been able to provide badly needed humanitarian support to Palestinian refugees throughout the Middle East as they have faced challenges.”
With field research by Mohammad Ersan in Irbid/Jordan