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Lajee Center has recently launched a university scholarship program aimed at supporting the higher education of students from Aida Camp and the surrounding area. Over the past six months, friends in the US have been networking intensively to garner support and fundraise for this project. Donations have mainly come from the US, although donations have also come through from both Lebanon and the UK.
The aim of this project is to support young refugees for whom the participation in, and the continuation of higher education is often severely challenging financially. Lajee’s ideology is based on the unshakeable belief that education, including both informal and formal methods, is a tool for strengthening Palestine and Palestinian society, and that it is also an indispensable instrument in Palestine’s struggle towards freedom, equality, and justice.
The Lajee Center Scholarship Program was announced locally and Lajee received many applications from students who were keen to apply. After submitting their applications, all applicants then went through an interview process administered by Lajee staff and members of the Administrative Board following which a democratic decision was made as to the final recipients. In all, 21 scholarships were awarded to local students who are studying at Bethlehem University, Birzeit University, Al Quds University (in Abu Dis), or within the Open University system. The exact amount of each scholarship varied depending on the respective cost of each applicant. The cost of studying different subjects varies greatly in Palestine from university to university and this factor was taken into consideration when agreeing upon the amount of each individual scholarship.
The program was open to all students from the local area who are studying within Palestine. No scholarships were awarded to students who are studying outside of the country. Furthermore, to be successful with an application, students needed to guarantee their participation in voluntary work at Lajee Center in order to help build the next generation of university students from within the current body of school age students. This process of ‘giving something back’ to the local community is an integral part of receiving a scholarship from Lajee Center.
The establishment of this program is not the first time Lajee has been able to offer small educational scholarships. Dr Chris Burns Cox, who is a retired Dr. from the UK and a long term friend of Lajee, has over recent years made donations to help support the university and school education of a few of Lajee’s volunteers and members. These scholarships proved invaluable to their recipients, and Lajee beliefs that the new extended Scholarship program will similarly provide invaluable support to its recipients and to the wider community through the volunteering projects with Lajee. In the longer term, everyone at Lajee believes this support also works towards the future of Palestine.
Lajee Center hopes to develop and continue the Scholarship program through coming educational years and if anybody would like to contribute towards the continuation of the project please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally, Lajee would like to offer our deepest thanks on behalf of all staff, volunteers, members, and scholarship recipients, to all friends who have supported the Lajee Center Scholarship Program for their belief in the new generations of Palestine, and for their generous support of the continued education of Palestinian students.
The French intellectual and Human Rights activist Victor Hugo once said ‘He who opens the school door, closes a prison’. Lajee Center believes that education can indeed be a tool through which we can eventually break down the prisons of inequality as we open the doors to freedom, and we send our sincere thanks to all those who walk with us on this path.