Time is our most valuable asset and is proof that our unique philosophy and vision has yielded faithful and desired results.
How are we unique? The students of the Leonard Education Organization ( LE.O ) are more than just scholarship recipients. They serve as the backbone of LE.O now and long after they graduate, and remain a vibrant and active part of the community of students under LE.O’s care. They, better than anyone, know from personal experience, the emotional, financial and academic challenges facing the youth from under resourced Palestinian communities in navigating the college and university experience both at home and abroad. Receiving a scholarship from the schools is not enough to ensure their successes and afford them the ability to achieve their full potential.
Their obstacles are many: lack of College selection and prep support, funding, visa issues, first time travel, border crossings, cultural and financial adjustment, home sickness and PTSD. LE.O relies on its valuable alumni to support and coach new students through their most difficult hurdles in the absence of their natural support system and cultural comfort. All volunteers, the LE.O students and community members are engaged in the daily running of the LE.O program. We apply a collective approach in decision making, mentoring and selecting new students as well as in fundraising initiatives. Our board members are also actively engaged in our operations and we rely on their professional expertise to guide and share their knowledge so that LE.O is always evolving into a stronger and more sustainable organization.
And now we are 108 strong and starting to see what the Multiplier Effect will look like in the coming years.
- A student returned home to Lebanon this summer after completing his undergraduate and masters’ degrees and moved his family out of the refugee camp they had lived in for three generations. He is employed by an international company.
- Three LE.O graduates, from Gaza, East Jerusalem and Bethlehem are each paying for a sibling to attend university back home.
- A masters’ graduate from Jordan currently working in Canada is subsidizing the living and clothing allowance of our first Syrian Palestinian member, currently on a scholarship in High School and applying to university.
- Two female students studying medicine in Egypt are sharing their very small apartment and caring for a third female LE.O from a Gulf country, whom we placed in the same university.
- Upper Classmen of LE.O throughout the globe, are counseling LE.O undergraduates seeking opportunities to pursue their Masters and PhDs in different countries.
- LE.O now receives funding regularly from 6 graduates.
- Universities and colleges refer LE.O to their colleagues at other institutions. One university even highlighted their experiences with LE.O at a conference, as an example of a valued partnership.
- Students have built strong networks and bonds with each other and value the LE.O Community to which they all belong. Our younger generation from the camps of Lebanon, Jordan, Gaza, West Bank, Egypt, and the Gulf countries are united by their Palestinian identity also.
- Current students are now a good resource for identifying new cohorts.
- We launched a LE.O doctor and a dentist recently, both studied in Gaza are now supporting their community and caring for students living and studying there.
- LE.O saw to the graduation of another Egyptian educated doctor from Gaza who very recently received her certificate to practice medicine from the State of Palestinian Ministry of Health, private medicine unit. She returned home and now also mentors our younger students following her path.
- LE.O is proud to have a 60-40 male to female ratio with last years’ student intake resulting in a 60-40 female to male combination.
Imagine a future of young Palestinian professionals bound by a unique shared Global Palestinian experience, working and guiding each other and more poignantly, creating lifelong friendships and uplifting themselves and their families.
We honour the dignity and privacy of all of our LE.O community members and this is why we often limit the details in our stories. We feel that those of you who understand our work, do understand the importance of our philosophy.
May this year bring you closer to reaching your dreams and may your paths open to new horizons.
Thank you for your continued encouragement and support.
With Appreciation from all of us,