Promoting education, cultural and livelihood initiatives for Palestinians in Israel

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Meet our student…Bushra Dahmoush

The Galilee Foundation is proud of its student family. We are pleased to share with our own and other students interested in the programme, as well as our supporters, a chance to hear from some of our scholarship students their feelings about the programme – the importance of its financial support, as well as the workshops, lectures, and mentoring and volunteering  components.

Boshra Dahmoush, from Mi’elya, is entering her third year at the Technion in Haifa, where she is studying for her BSc in Material Engineering and Biology. She entering her second year of the scholarship programme.

How important is the financial support of the scholarship programme?

It’s absolutely essential from a financial point of view, no question about it. I couldn’t do it without it.

As part of the scholarship programme, the Galilee Foundation has organised a mentoring system, in which our scholarship students in their second and third years of study are assigned one of our first year students, whom they volunteer to mentor. Can you describe your experience as a mentor?

I was really excited to be able to share my experience with a younger student. It’s very important to have this support in the programme because it’s not easy for us students, particularly for Palestinians.

For Palestinians coming from the mixed cities, they are more exposed to Israeli society and so are more used to it and adjusting isn’t as difficult for them. But for those coming from the villages, we usually stick together and we don’t mix much. There’s also the language element of having to speak Hebrew, which makes it more difficult.

We face other difficulties in the first year and many Palestinian students drop out during the first semester. Compared with most Israeli students, who enroll to university at an older age due to military service, we go to university right from high school, so we are less mature and many don’t know what they really want to study.

The student I mentored came to university immediately out of high school and she was unprepared – she had no idea what she wanted to study, she had no skills in how to study or organise her time, or how to divide her time between classes. It was very important to be able to transfer my experience to help her adjust and get by. For me it was very fulfilling to be able help her to adapt and succeed. To survive at university here you don’t only need intelligence, you need maturity. Many have the grades but not the maturity, and they drop out.

The scholarship programme involves a variety of training workshops, as well as cultural/study days. What are these like?

The workshops and activities give us a chance to meet Palestinian students from other towns and universities around the country, so it creates a network of students that we wouldn’t normally have, even though we’re from the same society. We come from different towns and different traditions and this, for me, was very good – we meet and discuss important issues, and so it helps us to develop a national identity and it gives us a voice. At this young age, this is important because it can still be formative.

Our ‘Journey to the Roots’ day was very important because we learned more about our homeland and the Nakba [‘catastrophe’ of 1948] and visited one of the destroyed villages for ourselves.

We also had a study day with a number of speakers, including an anti-Zionist, Amnom Raz-Krakotzkin, a professor of Jewish history at Ben Gurion University. The experience taught me a lot and was eye-opening.

For me, the best thing about the programme has been the chance to meet all of these students, as the programme supports the best students, so there’s a fantastic group of people. I am looking forward to continuing to develop the bonds that have already been formed between us in my second year in the programme. We can bring this voice and what we are learning outside of our core studies to the schools we went to and to organisations that we volunteer in, and I’m excited about that, it’s a great and important opportunity.

Read ‘Meet our student…Emad Khoury’ here.