From Bethlehem University Graduation
We’ve hit a milestone this year with the Scholarships Program, we were able to provide 140 scholarships for students in Gaza and the West Bank! To be more specific, 103 female students and 37 male students.
The scholarships program with MECA aims to provide partial scholarships to Palestinian students from the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip to study at Palestinian universities. Even though good academic performance is important, it is not the only term to get accepted into the scholarship program. We also focus on their characters, aspirations for the future, hopes and dreams, personal and collective challenges they’re facing, future goals and plans … etc. As we know that grades are not everything, and they’re not the sole measure of success and achievement.
I remember going through the applications of 18-year olds thinking “Wow! How eloquent these students are, well-spoken, focused, and goal oriented.” Lots of the students who apply are youngsters who had to deal with home demolitions, loss of a parent or even two, or having to be separated from one of their parents due to residency issues. Some had to work extremely hard to cover some of their expenses, since their parents couldn’t come up with all the tuition fees. And with every application I read, I realize how amazingly courageous and determined these kids are.
I keep thinking of how far these children would go if they didn’t have all these already existing obstacles; if they didn’t have to worry about their universities’ fees and whether their parents would be able to support them, if they didn’t have to calculate how much transportation would cost since some of them have to cross the minimum of two Israeli checkpoints to get to their universities making some students even choose universities that are closer to their homes rather than their dream universities in order to save money and expenses for their transportation and accommodation, how some would have to spend hours working in their universities computer labs because they do not have their own laptops for instance, and now with the covid-19 lockdown it is impossible and it hinders their studying.
I would not be exaggerating if I said that each and every one of those students who apply are beyond strong, ambitious, and empathetic with a huge sense of responsibility. The students that receive MECA scholarships are beyond grateful and thrilled to have been granted these scholarships.
“I’ve witnessed my mother’s tears of joy and appreciation more than one time when she saw how I didn’t have to carry the financial burden of getting an education and was lucky enough to only focus my studies, which gave me the opportunity to excel.”
— Maya , 2019 nursing school graduate
In my humble opinion, there are lots of important projects and initiatives that MECA is currently working on, but this program in particular should be a priority.
I do believe that with the generous support of MECA’s supporters and donors we’ll be able to reach our goal of becoming a full scholarship program and reach more and more students. This is not a favor we’re doing, it’s rather a responsibility that falls on our shoulders to help young Palestinians reach their full potential. We cannot fix the capitalist systems we’re living within at once, but we do know that this world is full of kind people with a sense of responsibility that have the ability to inflict positive change in the world. Supporting such a program will support this cycle of kindness and hope, one student at a time. One fulfilled dream at a time.
Hope is a good thing, let’s keep it on living.
Maya, one of our students, officially a Nurse