When 18-year-old Zeid came home in August 2012 with the news that he had excelled in the Tawjihi exams, earning an average of 96.2 per cent, his father, Yousef Abu-Ersheid, could not hold back tears. But they were not just the happy tears of a proud father. "I am crying because I am afraid you won't be able to continue your education because of my situation," he said.
A cancer patient facing medical bills and already forced to leave his job as an accountant, Yousef could not afford university fees, nor did he have any assets to sell to raise money. After a few moments of despair, however, Zeid declared, "I will fight tooth and nail to study in the university." A Palestine refugee who lives with his family in Jabal al-Nadhif, Zeid was used to coming first in his class and school ever since first grade, and he was not about to give up on pursuing higher education.
Relatives and other people he knew were unable to provide any help, and Zeid had decided to seek a job to save money for the university, even though the delays and pressures of work would affect his education. However, in the paper one day, he read about a scholarship offered by the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), and immediately pursued the opportunity.
Chance brought Zeid to the scholarship, and chance brought the scholarship to Zeid: A young woman had originally been selected to receive it, but while waiting to hear from UNRWA, she applied for other scholarships and received one from the Royal Court. The Agency chose Zeid as its candidate, and in September, 2012, he started to study finance at the University of Jordan.
He dove into his studies with enthusiasm and energy, but, recognizing the good fortune that brought him to the university, he strives to give back, leading review sessions for other students and participating in charity events, such as bazaars raising funds for Syrian refugees. His goal is to give back to the community on a larger scale: "UNRWA is everything to me," he explained, "and I hope that after graduation I can work with UNRWA and serve Palestine refugees."