It takes two hands to clap: How school sponsorship enhances education

22 September 2022
Inas’ eldest daughter Bara’a at Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Elementary School © Hussien Jaber

It takes two hands to clap: How school sponsorship enhances education

 

Thanks to generous funding from the Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation (KBZF) since 2010, UNRWA has been able to support Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Schools in Gaza.   Khalifa Foundation provides the right environment to foster a positive learning experience, which includes covering teachers’ salaries, school building maintenance as well as full school uniform, bags and shoes for the students.

Inas Abu Seda shares her heart-warming journey towards educating her children:

Hussain Jaber
Hussain Jaber

 

"When a school educates students on a strong educational foundation, it helps a mother overcome the odds and unlock her children’s potential, helping them understand what they are capable of,” says Inas Abu Seda, a Palestine refugee mother of four UNRWA students at Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Elementary School in Beit Lahia, Gaza.

Inas is an engineer who dreamed of accomplishing great things in engineering only to hit a glass-ceiling in this male-dominated field and be bridled by the dire economic situation in Gaza. "I couldn’t work with my engineering certificate. I enjoy education, reading books and strive to achieve my goals.  Creating purpose helped me through the darkest times in life and my purpose became supporting my children’s education. I dedicated my life to putting my daughters on the right track. I want to see them highly educated, ambitious, capable and with a clear vision of their future. And I want my son to respect his sisters' dreams and support them. However, one hand cannot clap on its own. Their school did its part and helped me see the day when my children are what I had dreamed they would be,” she says. 

Inas’ eldest daughter Bara’a at Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Elementary School © Hussain Jaber
Inas’ eldest daughter Bara’a at Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Elementary School © Hussain Jaber

 

Bara’a Masri (16) is one of the most distinguished students in her secondary school in the Gaza Strip and is proud of her achievements at the UNRWA Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Elementary School, where she got her start: “I still keep all of my awards and gifts from school; I still have the school packs from KBZF we used to receive at the beginning of every academic year,” she recalls.

Nusaiba with her school principal at the Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan School © Hussien Jaber
Nusaiba with her school principal at the Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan School © Hussien Jaber

 

Her sister, Nusaiba, is also a talented student. She won a Gaza-wide mathematics competition and is taking an advanced mathematics course to participate in the Palestine Math Olympiad. "I discovered my passion for math in second grade at the UNRWA Khalifa Bin Zayed School. My teacher encouraged me and opened my eyes to many resources," Nusaiba says.

Their younger siblings Sofyan (11) and Hala (9) are following in their path, one excelling in memorizing the Holy Qur’an and the other who dreams of becoming a physiotherapist in order to help her mother one day.

Mudala Louz, school principal at the Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan School. © Hussien Jaber
Mudala Louz, school principal at the Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan School. © Hussien Jaber

 

Mudala Louz was principal when the Khalifa Bin Zayed Foundation adopted the school many years ago.  Now a few months away from retirement, she has been blessed with seeing former students become respected members of the refugee community. "We plant the seeds in elementary school and when former UNRWA students become influential figures in their community, we pick the fruit,” she says.

Support from KZBF ensures that Palestinian refugee students receive the resources they need to succeed. KBZF school-adoption provides students with uniforms, school bags, winter clothing, shoes, sports uniforms, and stationery. Additionally, KBZF also provides support for school building maintenance and covers the cost of teacher salaries. 

"It is my dream that my children become leaders of the community to influence and inspire people but I never imposed anything on them.  However, with the assistance I received from Khalifa Foundation and at school, I directed them to unlock their capabilities and figure out their talents and the way to improve - the process of education and discovering new talents never ends. As long as we have the skills and capacity to learn something new, we will always survive," says Inas.