From Bethlehem: Leen’s Letter to Pope Francis

11 May 2023
From Bethlehem: Leen’s Letter to Pope Francis

His Holiness the Pope of Vatican,

I am Leen Al-Masri, a Palestine refugee student from the displaced village of Ajjour. I live in Dheisheh refugee camp, in the city of Bethlehem, the city where Jesus was born. I study at the UNRWA Dheisheh Basic Girls’ School, where my classmates and I do the activities we love: play, learn different sciences and languages, and learn human rights; that’s how I became the head of the student parliament at my school.

As a student parliamentarian, I always hear about the funding challenges UNRWA faces. I worry about the future education of my brothers, relatives and friends in the camp, and about their lack of access to the education I have today. At school we exercise our rights and duties and enjoy learning from our amazing teachers and the quality services that UNRWA provides us.

Like other children in the camp, I want to complete my education, so that I can build a good future for myself and help my family and the people of the camp improve their lives. The difficult security situation in the camp and in the West Bank scares me a lot. Army raids disrupt education, and we are afraid of going to school, and even when we are in school, we are worried about the raids, and the army's use of bullets and tear gas. This situation affects my psyche and that of my colleagues. I become confused, tense, and cannot focus on learning.

As a Palestine Refugee, I want to live in peace like the rest of the world's children. We want our rights, we want to live in freedom, peace and security, and we want to go to school in peace and without fear. We want this frightening security situation to end, and I want to be assured about my educational future and my life, as well as the future of all my friends in the camp.


Leen Jamal Al-Masri

UNRWA Dheisheh Girls’ School