A nine classroom educational center gives Gaza residents better access to social, educational and developmental services.
The Unlimited Friends Association (UFA) is a vibrant nonprofit in the Deir Al Balah governorate of Gaza. They provide a host of services to their community, but have always struggled with space and limited resources. As their long-time partner, Anera knew of the challenges UFA faced and proposed using USAID funds to improve their facilities. The result is a brand new building that Anera constructed on land UFA owned.
Before the new building, UFA did not have a their own proper facility to house all their range of services from after-school teaching to relief support for vulnerable families. They survived by operating from five small rented rooms, used mainly as a kindergarten. The organization was forced to provide the kindergarten services during the day and their other educational classes in the evenings due to limited space. They were also paying $5,000 a year in rent, which severely limited any development plans.
UFA offered its 500 square meter piece of land as local contribution. On that land, Anera constructed a two-story building, 350 square meters per floor, to house all the services under one roof. The ground floor houses a new kindergarten, including five classrooms and an administration office. The second floor is made up of four classrooms, a computer lab, an administrative office and a reception area.
The new building is fully handicap-accessible, with an elevator, ramp, and bathrooms for persons with disabilities.
The kindergarten now generates additional income for the association in the form of small fees. Prior, the association had the capacity for 100 kindergarten children to enroll. With the additional space, the association now can take in an additional 55 children, meaning the school will be bringing in more money. These new funds will be put back into offering better and more services to the community.
Planning for the Future
UFA is now getting the optimum use from the new building by providing a much more appropriate and hygienic facility for its beneficiaries and staff. With a proper facility and an address to call their own, UFA can now work on building better relationships and exploring more avenues for growth and development. The only English center of its kind in the area, UFA is currently working on a more comprehensive English center for an increase in the quality and quantity of services provided.
In an area where employment is scarce, this intervention has created five new employment opportunities in the kindergarten, including three teachers, psychologist, an administrative assistant and kindergarten manager. The association is also in the process of hiring an additional six staff for the educational center: four English teachers, a manager and an assistant.
"We now have this building, space and facilities to be doing much bigger things for those we serve. We provide people from very poor backgrounds with the tools needed to have a successful future by enhancing their skills and knowledge in areas they are weak in."
"Before, the situation was so black and bleak. And so when Anera and USAID came with this lifetime opportunity initiative, it’s like they hit the light switch on. The youth that engage with this USAID project offer a fresh perspective on things, and will help change the future for many. What could be more priceless?"
Anera constructed this new educational facility in Gaza through our Palestinian Community Infrastructure Development program (PCID), funded by the United States Development Agency.