Palestinian youth tell the human stories behind the numbers in the news

Palestinian youth tell the human stories behind the numbers in the news

Gaza youth: no light at the end of the tunnel

Wesam Alnaouq | 18-05-2017

To whom it may concern:

My name is Wesam Al-Naouq. I'm a junior student of English literature at Al-Azhar University in Gaza. I've always been interested in reading all kinds of literature, which helped me become the top student in my class. When I first joined the English Department, I thought my life was going to change. I dreamt about becoming a professional translator, or maybe an English professor. However, after investing three years of my life into this dream, I realized that none of it is going to come true. 

Every year, thousands of students graduate from college in Gaza and search for job opportunities. But more than 90 percent can't get a job related to what they studied, leaving them no choice but to work as taxi drivers or daily laborers. For example, my friend Mohammed graduated three years ago with a degree in management. He knocked on every door he could, searching for a job, to no avail. So instead, he taught himself to sew and now he works 10 hours a day in a clothing factory for only 30 shekels (nearly $10). He can’t afford to get married; he must help support his extended family. There are about 25 of them, altogether, in a three-room house. His only dream now is to someday have his own shop so he can start a family.

Now I wonder if finishing college is even a good idea; it costs money my family could otherwise use. As with Mohammed, my dream is simple: to have a decent life in which I earn a living, build a house and get married. For many people around the world, these are well within reach. But in Gaza, even such simple things require a lifetime for a normal guy like me. 

Killing the dreams of youth is a crime against humanity. We feel like we’re stuck on an island alone, waiting for a ship that will never show up. I write this for those who call themselves leaders and pretend to work for our good. My message is simple: Save the youth. Give them a reason to live. 

Posted: May 1, 2017

Mentor: Pam Bailey

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