Education Above All (EAA) Foundation has opened the first-ever ‘Child-Friendly School’ in Gaza, Jamal Abdul Nasser School. EAA was founded by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser in 2012. 
Serving 800 students, the school – which was completely destroyed during the 2014 hostilities - has been rebuilt and specially designed with inputs from the children as well as the local community. 
“This is a unique project, founded on the principle that all children should have a safe, engaging space to learn in,” EAA Foundation said in a press statement.
The school was opened by Al Fakhoora, a programme of EAA Foundation. The project is funded by the Qatar Fund for Development, and implemented in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (Unicef).
The school buildings are all environment-friendly, child-centred and fully accessible for all students. Renewable energy is provided by solar panels and the design incorporates a double wall system, double-glazed, shatter-proof windows, and thermal insulation in the ceiling and floor.
A particularly distinctive addition is the school’s multipurpose halls. Features of the multipurpose buildings include flexible learning spaces, an extensive library, IT facilities, breakout spaces, a multipurpose sports facility and an on-site health facility, providing crucial psychosocial support and child protection services. 
The halls are also specially designed to serve as emergency shelters for internally displaced persons (IDPs) during times of conflict, with gender-sensitive accommodations, emergency power and water networks, and improved water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities. 
Representatives from UNDP, Unicef and EAA Foundation were present at the school opening, as well as returning students from Al Fakhoora’s Dynamic Future’s scholarship programme. 

Officials and dignitaries with children.

Children mark the occasion.

The returning students, who have previously completed their education as a result of Al Fakhoora funding, are a testament to the long-term impact education has on young people in Gaza and the community at large, the statement notes.
“We are extremely proud to be part of building this innovative school in Gaza for a community who deserves the highest quality of education facilities. Education is a fundamental human right, one that is crucial to the future of the Palestinian State. By investing in their future, we enable these young people to play a key role in rebuilding their communities, unlocking their full potential,” said Farooq Burney, executive director of EAA Foundation’s Al Fakhoora programme.
In addition to EAA Foundation’s support of school reconstruction, its programme, Protect Education in Insecurity and Conflict (PEIC), promotes and protects the right to education in areas affected by conflict, besides advocating for an international legal framework that holds accountable those who attack schools. 
PEIC executive director Maleiha Malik said, "This school is a fantastic development for the children and young people of Gaza. The opening of this new school provides a safe place to learn, play and grow, and it also lays the foundation for building peace for the children of Gaza.
“The international community must work urgently to rebuild schools. We must do our upmost to ensure this school stands tall for many years to come.” 
Roberto Valent, UNDP special representative of the administrator, noted: “UNDP welcomes the opening of the first child-friendly school in Gaza. We are confident that the school, with the support from Qatar Fund for Development, through Al Fakhoora, and in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Unicef, will become a positive example of ensuring appropriate conditions for education. 
“Most importantly, this model will ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all children and adolescents, with a focus on those left behind.” 
Genevieve Boutin, Unicef special representative, added: "The completion of work at the Jamal Abdul Nasser School is an opportunity to reflect on how this project has helped not only rebuild schools, but also catalyse additional investments in children and young people across Gaza, thanks to generous support from Al Fakhoora and the Qatar Fund for Development. 
“The students were actively involved: they were consulted and contributed ideas on how to make their learning environments more stimulating. Unicef integrated their suggestions in the design of safer, more child-friendly schools.”