My name is Rahaf Ruby from the Shuafat Refugee Camp in East Jerusalem, and I would like to take a few minutes of your time to tell you about my painful humiliating struggle in pursuing a bachelor's degree. My dream is to study liberal arts at Tel Aviv University which I have been accepted in, and I am in desperate need of help to get started. Having been a high-performing student in school, I won a micro-scholarship from the U.S consulate to learn how to speak English in 8th grade, and a full scholarship from the U.S government to spend my 11th grade as an exchange student in Jefferson, Iowa. I got another scholarship to attend the Jerusalem American International School in West Jerusalem after coming back. Attending an American high school was an enormous challenge for me, having been used to the Arabic Tawjihi system public school. However, I worked very hard and pushed myself to get great grades and build an excellent C.V.

I am a very active person in my community having volunteered 100+ hours in the U.S and many here in different places in Ramallah, Jerusalem, and Jericho via EcoME, an organization devoted to creating a safe space for Israeli and Palestinian youth to build sustainable relationships. As a result of meeting many people from different ethnicities, beliefs, and ways of thinking - as well as having experienced major turning points in my own life - I went from being a closed-minded, traditional girl to a very loving open-minded young lady.

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In 2014, I found a recycling project for plastic, metal, and glass in my American high school that has been running for three years. The project consisted of selling the collected materials to Ella Recycling Company and using the money raised to create a similar project in schools in the camp I live in, in order to help reduce the unhealthy waste piled up there. Unfortunately, Implementing the project in Shuafat proved more difficult than I had anticipated due to the lack of support, funds, and cooperation. However, this failure had in no way destroyed or weakened my desire to change and be an active citizen, but instead, I felt empowered by the experience and yearned to be an advocate for change in the camp. I learned so much about my country, the logistics of organizations and governments, and the different communities we have in Israel and the West Bank. I have sharpened my skills which I intend to use in the future as a vehicle for change to improve the community.

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As for seeking high education, I am very ambitious and genuinely enthusiastic to go to college and have been for the past couple of years. Unluckily, I have not been successful in taking part of a study program mainly due to the fact that higher education is so expensive. Furthermore, this really has affected me negatively in many ways, adding to all the struggles I had to face, My inability to pursue higher education has enormously affected me; I started suffering from anxiety, falling into a deep depression-and eventually started taking medication. Believe me when I tell you that I had never done this much research in my life and for that long, seeking financial aid. Donors who offered money to the Palestinians did not consider me as one because I have an Israeli citizenship. Furthermore, I am not considered a real Israeli because I am not Jewish and haven’t served in the Israeli army. This confusion left me feeling like a stranger both in Israel and in Palestine.

I come from a big family of five girls, an unemployed mother, and a father who works two jobs around the clock to support his family. Four of us will be attending college in the year 2017-2018, plus my two oldest sisters are engaged and will be getting married soon, therefore devouring my dad’s money. I have worked at the Jerusalem Post Lite Talk for the past year in order to save money for college, but instead, I have been using it to help my dad out with our living expenses.

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Unlike typical Palestinian Muslim women from my camp, I don’t want to get married and settle down at this stage in my life. I do NOT want to “take the holy land back” or feed the violent patriarchy that has infested Shuafat. Nor do I want the whole country to turn into a Jewish Israeli state. I pray with all my heart to finish my studies and live in a beautiful, peaceful, and diverse land. I pledge my life to the improvement of Shuafat and to helping others whether they be Israeli or Palestinian.

I am currently seeking help to pay the tuition for Tel Aviv University = $5750 (20,265.30 ILS).

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. My dreams are dependent on you, and I vow not to waste any assistance that you provide. Your assistance will kick-start a journey that will not bore, and will not disappoint. Inshallah.

If you can help at all please donate using this website or contact me via email:

ANY help would be greatly appreciated

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official position or viewpoint of The Jerusalem Post. Blog authors are NOT employees, freelance or salaried, of The Jerusalem Post.

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