Educational relief fund launches in support of Palestinian students


Shafi Musaddique


AVPN 2024: An education relief fund for Palestinian students has been launched by the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation (AGF), an Emirati philanthropic organisation.  

The fund, which was trailed at the AVPN Global conference in Abu Dhabi in April, will provide grants to cover tuition fees, living expenses, and other essential costs for students at university. Both Gazan and West Bank students in their final year of study or training, who are studying abroad, are eligible for the fund. 

Some 900 students have already been supported by the programme. 

‘The ongoing conflict in Gaza has placed immense hardship on its population, including in education’, said Sonia Ben Jaafar, CEO of AGF. She added that the education relief fund is ‘not only a lifeline to safeguard their future opportunities, but also contributes to strengthening the healthcare workforce essential for the region’s recovery.’ 

Educational prospects for the 625,000 students in Gaza are bleak.  

According to the United Nations, more than 80 per cent of Gaza’s schools have been severely damaged or destroyed by fighting, including all 12 universities. 

‘It may be reasonable to ask if there is an intentional effort to comprehensively destroy the Palestinian education system, an action known as ‘scholasticide,’ a group of 25 UN experts said in a joint statement in April. 

‘These attacks are not isolated incidents,’ it added. ‘They present a systematic pattern of violence aimed at dismantling the very foundation of Palestinian society.’ 

Before Israel’s military campaign, Gaza had 813 schools that employed some 22,000 teachers. Many of the schools were run by UNWRA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees which had its funding slashed after 19 donor countries pulled out over claims by Israel that agency staff colluded with Hamas or were members of Hamas.  

Israel has not provided evidence to back up its claims. Germany, alongside Australia, Canada, Japan and Sweden, has restored its funding.  

Speaking to the New York Times, science teacher Hamdan al-Agha, displaced from Khan Younis in southern Gaza, said Israel’s continued military onslaught has ‘hugely affected the education system… And it will for generations.’ 

The Israeli military has ordered the evacuation of displaced refugees in Rafah, southern Gaza. 

Over 34,700 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed by Israeli military in seven months, with thousands missing.  

Shafi Musaddique is the news editor at Alliance Magazine 

Tagged in: #AVPN2024 Israel-Palestine Conflict

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