Feature: Palestinian Refugee Students Hope for Full Education in Post-Pandemic Era

Feature: Palestinian Refugee Students Hope for Full Education in Post-Pandemic Era

UNRWA Regional Youth Ambassador Mohammed Assaf visiting students at the UNRWA Girls' School in the Palestine refugee camp of Am'ari, near Ramallah. © 2014 UNRWA Photo by Alaa Ghosheh

Mahmoud Abu Jibara, a young Palestinian from Al-Shati refugee camp in northwestern Gaza, hopes to achieve full education in the post-pandemic era.

Jibara, who studies computer engineering at the Islamic University, told Xinhua that the year 2020 was hard for him and his peers, given the multiple difficulties they faced in their studies due to the COVID-19.

"The coronavirus casts a negative shadow on our daily lives, and has impacted my studies and my dream to develop my professional abilities in order to engage in self-employment," the 21-year-old man said.

Abu Jibara complained that distance education hindered his studies due to constant power cuts and internet disruption, and all of his plans have failed due to the difficult conditions under the coronavirus.

"I live in one of the largest refugee camps, which is one of the most densely populated areas in the world. The fear of the virus spreading among the population was great, and that reflected on our psychological condition," he added.

Al-Shati refugee camp is overcrowded and limited in space, as shelters are built close to each other, and there is a lack of public recreational and social facilities.

But Abu Jibara expressed hope that 2021 will bring changes.

Ismail Abu Ryala, another university refugee student from Al-Shati camp, has been forced to stop studying since the outbreak of the new virus in the coastal enclave.

The 20-year-old student told Xinhua that his father, who works a vendor at public markets, lost his job because of the closure imposed on the Gaza Strip, which pushed him to stop his education at the university because he could not pay university fees.

But Abu Ryala believes that the year 2021 would be better than 2020, as the precautionary and preventive measures imposed on the strip have been eased, and he can help his father in his work and earn more money.

"Life is not easy, but we can achieve our dreams and goals by the determination and working hard," he explained.

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