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“Rebuild hope”, distance class project for students in Gaza

“Rebuild hope”, distance class project for students in Gaza

Professor Imad Asmad prepares in his office at Birzeit University, in the Palestinian province of Ramallah (West Bank busy) to teach a class, as he confesses, without knowing how many students will appear on the other side of the screen: your students are in Loop.

“They have killed faculty members, students… and now there is no place for them in universities. “We started this initiative to rebuild some hope,” Asmad, one of the 140 academics who have volunteered in this initiative that supports some 3,800 Gazan university students, explains to EFE.

In total, some 625,000 young people cannot study in the Strip due to the war that has devastated the enclave and displaced almost its entire population. According to the UN, more than 7,030 students and some 378 employees of educational institutions have been killed by Israeli fire.

Furthermore, the 88% of school buildings have been bombed and 110 institutions have been completely destroyed, according to the Hamas-ruled Gaza government. One of the most notorious cases was that of Al Israa University (south of Gaza City), whose main building was blown up by the Army.

Asmad knows this very well. He says some of the students don’t get enough food or water each day, but they want to continue studying. However, gaining internet access, or even simply charging your mobile phone, is not an easy task in the Strip.

Exodus of young Gazans

The professor teaches a WhatsApp group on his phone with about 100 participants in which he communicates with the students of the Critical Nursing course. Although there are 207 registered, in the session ‘Zoom’ There are barely three connected.

They are Mohamed, Basma and Dalia, three Gazans in their twenties to whom the incessant bombings and connection problems in the Strip have given them a respite and allowed them to continue in the distance, some barely 100 kilometers and others more than 8,000 from Birzeit, their cardiology class.

Mohamed, 22, connects from Khan Yunis, the main city in southern Gaza before the war, where he ended up after being displaced several times due to the Israeli military advance.

“Two months ago the Army sent us a message to leave our house to a safe place,” the young man tells EFE in the video call, then “we went to Rafah and then we had to return to our house in Khan Yunis,” Explain.

Upon arrival everything was devastated. “None of the buildings were okay, they were all destroyed.” Mohamed gets nervous when talking about ‘day after’ of the war, once he also finishes his studies: “I want to stay in my land and help my people rebuild, I don’t want to travel anywhere.”

“We must stay in our land and send the (Israeli) occupation to theirs, to Germany, to America, to their places of origin,” underlines.

Basma, who fled Gaza in November through the Rafah crossing – now closed and where crossing cost up to 10,000 euros per person – attends class from the Philippines.

The young woman is not clear when asked if she plans to return to the Strip. “Wait”, dares to say who, like a 22% of the students in the Birzeit program are already outside the Strip.

Limited Internet access in Gaza

Another student who is in Egypt and has good internet access is dedicated to downloading the classes that the university posts on its web portal and uploads them to YouTube, where it is much easier for his classmates to access them.

Students use eSIMs (digital SIM cards) from the Israeli company Cellcom to access classes, since “the Palestinian internet does not work”, says Mohamed, because of Israeli electricity cuts and lack of fuel.

“Dear people of the beloved Gaza Strip, we regret to announce the interruption of fixed internet services”they announce ‘tweets’ recent reports from the Palestinian telecommunications companies Jawwal and Paltel.

The last to access the session is Dalia, who before signing up for Birzeit’s distance courses was studying at the Al Aqsa University, in the now devastated city of Gaza, north of the Strip, where the death toll has already exceeded 37,200.

Dalia says that she lived in eastern Gaza and that she had to escape to Rafah, like 1.4 million other Palestinians, to later return after the military incursion of this southern city that began on May 6.

As he speaks, the audio of the video call begins to stutter, until he loses the connection completely and has to leave the class.

It may interest you

  • US resumes aid deliveries to Gaza through its temporary dock
  • Doubts grow about the possibility of a new truce between Israel and Hamas in Gaza
  • Israel estimates that it will not be able to defeat Hamas before the end of the year

Source: Gestion

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