Beginning September 2014, Mercy-USA has been providing students between the ages of 15 and 22 at two United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) vocational training centers in Gaza with a daily meal that consists of fresh food, bread and milk to assist them through the school day, which often includes hard labor work. Providing students with a daily meal enhances their nutritional intake, their cognitive abilities and performance.

During the 2013/2014 school year, the two training centers – Gaza Training Centre (GTC) and Khan Younis Training Centre (KYTC) – enrolled a total of 1,474 students, with 33% of them being young women. Admission is merit-based, and only available to Palestine refugees. Priority is given to vulnerable students who come from refugee households classified as poor by UNRWA’s poverty survey. This implies that the household is living on less than $ 3.63 per person, per day.

Lunches for Learning in the Gaza Strip From 2009-2013 Mercy-USA in partnership with (UNRWA) provided daily school lunches/snacks to children in Gaza.

A residual benefit to this program was that the food items used to make the daily meals were purchased locally, which helped to create and sustain jobs and benefit the devastated Gaza economy.
During the reporting period of October 2012 to June 2013, 8,891 children (4,162 boys and 4,729 girls) attending 10 elementary and preparatory schools in Gaza were fed a nutritious meal to boost their ability to focus, improve their overall nutritional status, as well as academic performance.

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