Medical students at the Islamic University of Gaza (IUG), of a class of 123, had worked since 2015 to become physicians. However, many were not able to graduate until they paid their remaining tuition fees. To help them, the Medical Students Union at the university launched a crowdfunding campaign called Sanad. We Are Not Numbers recently reported on the success of this campaign for two individuals. Here is a report on the success of the campaign overall.
Tuitions paid off
Omar Riad Al Najjar, a student at the IUG’s College of Medicine, coordinated the initiative, which was sponsored by the Palestinian Medical Forum, to help cover the fees of one student, Aseel, and her classmates.
Omar had a big smile on his face when he said, “We finished the campaign with great success a while ago, and then we finished all the technical matters. The money reached the university, the certificates were released, the graduates received them, and they set out in life.
These are the campaign numbers that Omar is honored to share:
-The crowdfunding campaign supported a total of 73 graduates from the College of Medicine and Health Professions.
-It partially covered the expenses of 31 medical students, with rates ranging between 20% and 50%, for a total of $39,500.
-It covered 17 medical students in full, 100 percent, for a total of $49,111.
-It fully supported 25 students from the Colleges of Health Professions (Nursing and Health Sciences), for a total of $24,114.
Special graduation ceremony
The organizers concluded this campaign with a ceremony held in November 2021 and attended by the graduates who benefited from the campaign and whose certificates were finally released.
This event replaced the official graduation ceremony of the university, which these students had missed due to the accumulated debts that prevented them from participating. It was meaningful for the graduates, in addition to their families and loved ones, to be in the official presence of university administrators, including the Dean of Student Affairs, the Dean of Foreign Affairs, and the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at IUG.
In a vast hall under splendid lighting, the ceremony began with the procession of the graduates to songs of success. Then everyone stood up to listen to the national anthem as a sign of belonging to our land.
After that were the speeches by a representative of the Palestinian Medical Forum and by the Dean of Student Affairs. One of the students from the College of Medicine presented an artistic drawing of the mottos of the Sanad Campaign and the Medical Forum, to show gratitude and appreciation to those in charge of the campaign.
The part that the graduates had been waiting for from the moment they joined the university was when the medical section gave the Doctor’s Oath, administered by the Dean of the College of Medicine, Dr. Fadl Naim. The conferring of certificates was the final part of the graduation ceremony.
Gratitude of the scholarship recipients
One of the graduates of the Department of Physiotherapy of IUG’s Faculty of Health Sciences, Youssef Zuhair Al-Haddad, offered these words:
“Of course, the feeling is indescribable after receiving a scholarship to complete a bachelor’s degree. It is worth mentioning that the scholarship covered 100% of the tuition fees. I extend a word of thanks to all those who contributed to help me in achieving the certificate, and also a word of thanks and loyalty to the Palestinian Medical Forum for their great effort, and may God reward them on our behalf.
“I work now in a private physiotherapy center, and if it were not for the release of the certificate, I would have stayed at home and would not be able to provide health care services to patients. I seek to complete my studies to obtain a master’s degree in physical therapy for cases of orthopedic problems, and we ask God to grant success to us and to all.”
Hope for a continued campaign
It is heartening that the administration of the Islamic University of Gaza felt proud of its students and took the initiative to honor them during a second graduation.
The students and their families hope that the campaign will continue because there are many students who dream of becoming physicians and nurses. Gaza is in dire need of these professionals, too, especially given that the Israeli occupation continues to attack Gaza without mercy.