Every year Anera’s scholarship program helps dozens of Palestinians in Lebanon to pursue a higher education and achieve their dreams.
Many receive a scholarship from a variety of donors who partner with Anera in this program. Without financial assistance, the young Palestinian students could not afford to continue their education.
Marwa Dirawi was 15 when Anera advertised its scholarship program. She didn’t hesitate to apply. “I was in seventh grade and I’d passed the official exams but I knew it was the end of my schooling,” says Marwa, “We are a family of six and my parents want to give a basic education for my other siblings too. So they couldn’t afford to pay my high school fees. That’s why I dropped out of school.”
When Marwa saw Anera’s poster in a community center in Beirut’s southern suburb, she says it changed everything and renewed her dream of finishing school.
I was in seventh grade and I’d passed the official exams but I knew it was the end of my schooling. We are a family of six and my parents couldn’t afford to pay my high school fees.
Anera has partnered with Abdel El Hady Debs Technical School in Beirut for the scholarship program, which focuses on teaching Palestinian students the skills they need to find good paying jobs and overcome the legal and administrative hurdles of the Lebanese labor market. Classes range from interior design, electronics or hairdressing to accounting, architectural drawing and more. Graduates then can access the job market or better still pursue a college education.
When Marwa got the scholarship she went to the institute to enroll in mechanical engineering. “But the supervisor told me this specialty was only open to men, so I chose architectural drawing,” Marwa explains, “Even though architecture was not my first choice, I managed to be the best of my class for all three years.”
Hard Work Pays Off for Marwa in Final Exams
Marwa took her final exams in August with the hope of going on to college. The result? Marwa finished second in all subjects on the Lebanese National Levels.
“We don’t have internet at home so I didn’t see the results but then my friends started calling me to tell me I came in second and I didn’t believe them,” she smiles. “I thought they read the wrong name until I went to an internet café next door and saw the results myself.”
Marwa says her heart skipped a beat when she saw the results. “I ran home to tell my parents.”
Marwa says her parents have always supported and encouraged her to do her best, “My father is a butcher and when the results were published, he distributed free meat to poor families in the neighborhood and my mom called everyone we know to tell them the news.”
Marwa was excited to start college. She wanted to study mechanical engineering at the American University of Beirut, but she only got a partial scholarship there and her family cannot afford to pay the rest of the fees. “So I started checking other universities and applying for more scholarships or financial aid,” Marwa sounded dejected but not defeated. “I said to myself that I will not let this stop me from achieving my dreams because I know our Palestinian community needs more engineers and fewer people without jobs.”
And then, early in September Marwa’s mother called Anera with the good news: Marwa has received a scholarship at American University of Science and Technology and will start her classes in mechatronic engineering in October.