A Donors Reflection

Dear Friends,

In writing this, I ask you to look into the future of the Palestinian community and remember what always made Palestinians the most reliable workforce in the Middle East for decades; their level of education. Alas, today Palestinians are sliding rapidly from that treasured peak of accomplishment because the world has failed them. Never has the right to an education seemed more in danger among Palestinians in Palestine and the refugee camps. Increasingly, our Palestinian young men and women are choosing to work in blue collar jobs rather than pursue an education. High school dropout rates are on the rise.

The pressures young Palestinians face to provide for their families in what I can only describe as Jim Crow policies in Lebanon and Israel, seem insurmountable. I was fortunate to speak to many during my recent travels to both countries and sadly confess to the dismal treatment many Palestinians face as second-class citizens and the unacceptable denial to the right to their education. And yet, Palestinians have always been resilient and I have found among so many families, the determined few, who, with the support of their brothers and sisters, break through these barriers and emerge with their diplomas. The cost is heavy emotionally, financially and even psychologically, for one child to graduate from university, it means financial sacrifices upon sacrifices for their parents, for one child to graduate from university, it might mean travel to a foreign land and distances from family, for one child to graduate from university, it means that another sibling must abandon their own dreams and education. That is the price of education for many Palestinians, however we all know that education is dignity. I have supported LE.O from its inception because I know and see for myself that it is dedicated to the welfare of the students, to their success, and most importantly to uplifting their families' dignity.

LE.O is a small organization with a big heart that embraces the students like their second family. Every student is tracked and guided from the moment they enroll in the program until they become alumni and mentors to the next generation of students. Simply put, it allows the students to become masters of their own fate rather than mere statistics for the UN, and that alone is the definition of resilience.

Samar N.

" We have a Right to an Education " Hebron, Palestine