We usually associate Gaza with rockets , killing ,war, injustice and pandemonium. In this case, the bad situation creates a life-chaging opportunity. Rawan Yaghi, 19 ( may Allah سبحانه و تعالى bless her) has won a scholarship to Oxford University to study linguistics and Italian.
Internchange alleviated and content to see that there is somewhere empathy still existing in this cruel world.This unprecedented project was inspired by Emily Dreyfus and Oxford graduate. She recognized that there also young women like here in Gaza that have ambitions and dreams. The observation became reality, when students at Oxford’s jesus College agreed to pay some of the fees of Rawan’s Studies.The student were happy and agreed to pay £ 3.90 per term towards the fees.
The College Students realised that a small contribution could create £6300 a year for the livings cost for Rawan. £ 30.000 annually will be the cots for Rawan’s complete the four-years course. Huge amounts to pay, but Oxford university is willing to relinquish 60% of the tuition fees.
These reductions would not be sufficient in normal case, however In Rawan’s case it almost feels like that Unity is taking place. The Qaddumi Scholarship foundation, Am Qattan Foundation , and the Hoping Foundation which all are active in welfare of the Palestinian refugees across the Globe are going to pay the balance of her fees. Rawan is humble and thankful for the opportunity that have been offered by the students at Jesus College.
She says I really appreciate that Emily believed in people here and she gave somebody like me a life changing chance,”
She only once left the Palestinian territory before for a study trip to United States, as Israel makes it difficult for students to leave or go study abroad for many Palestinian students. From Egypt to Oxford is probably the route Rawan will travel. As an aspiring writer Rawan’s writting style distinguish herself by the subtle way of creating tension. Rawan says that her favorite book is Mornings in Jenin by Palestinian American Writer Susan AbulHawa, which is a novel based on the story of three generations of a Palestinian family who became refugees after creation of the state of israel in 1948. The Palestinian student is currently completing a degree in English literature. Rawan thinks is looking forward to telling people about a different side of life in Gaza.
“Most people think it’s like a war zone here and that everyone here is really depressed and involved in politics,” she says.
“But it’s not always about war. It’s also about families, friends and love. It’s not only about the conflict with Israel.”
And despite the chance to broaden her horizons, she is adamant that once she has finished her four years in Oxford, she will return to Gaza.
“I still haven’t thought about what I’ll do after university but I’ll definitely come back here. Although it may seem difficult to live here, it’s still interesting and adventurous at times,” she says with a wry smile.
Rawan says that she does not considering staying here. She is planning to leave the Uk and go back to Palestine Inshaa Allah, regardless of the situation. she adds
“The education system is completely different. I’m going to have my own tutors not like in Gaza where I am among hundreds of students who have the same teacher.”
Educating oneself is highly valued in Gaza. There are no fewer than seven universities in the territory for a population of 1.7 million people. We as muslim in the west have to learn from this. We are blessed and that there is a reason for being here. Alhamduillah, this is a motivator to all of us, striving to the best in whatever you do.