The recent two-months long war on Gaza had a devastating impact on Palestinian students, who are still struggling to return to their daily lives. However, some remain steadfast with their education and their dreams of contributing to the society.
On July 08, Israel launched a military operation that lasted for fifty days. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 1,473 Palestinians, out of the 2,131 who were killed, were civilians. After the ceasefire, the crushing impact of the war started to show on many, including Palestinian students who already struggle with Israel’s blockade on Gaza in furthering their education.
Despite the devastation, many students continued with their studies, and some medical students assisted in treating patients in the hospitals. Hassan Mustafa, a 23-year-old medical student, sponsored by Al-Fakhoora, said: “I was in Gaza during the military operation that took place on July 8. I was at Al-Shifa Hospital helping since the first day of the war”. Mustafa, who lives in northern Gaza in Jabaliya camp, added that he helped out at Al-Shifa Hospital until he left to Jordan on August 10, in order to complete a month-long elective course. At Al Shifa Hospital, Mustafa was part of the ER department. He also assisted in emergency procedures, as well as suturing wounds. “I gained experience in obstetrics department during the heavy work there”, he added.
Mustafa participated in many Al-Fakhoora initiatives, such as the Virtual Majlis, a teleconference that allows university students in Gaza to interact and communicate with students from Qatar, the United States and the United Kingdom. The Virtual Majlis initiative made a huge impact on Mustafa. He credits it with giving him new skills and improving his English language.
“The benefits I got were during my work as a technical assistant, where I coordinated all the sessions. I improved my English language, my knowledge about the American culture, and how to communicate and convent about different issues”. He added that the Virtual Majlis was also one the best ways to increase awareness about Palestine and its legal issues.
For now, Mustafa is focusing on his education, and aims to continue his studies abroad by earning his Master’s degree. He hopes to one day be part of a team that will develop the quality of the health system in Palestine.