Gaza to London: refugee raises £15,000 to study in UK


A Palestinian student has used crowdfunding to his advantage by raising more than £15,000 to fund his dream of studying in the UK. Community and human rights activist Awni Farhat reached £15,000 in donations after only six weeks of using the online crowdfunding platform IndieGoGo.

Currently living as a refugee in Jabalia Camp on the Gaza Strip, Farhat is keen to study for a Masters in Violence and Conflict Development at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. To realise his dream, he must raise a total of £25,000 which will cover £15,320 of tuition fees, plus housing and living expenses.

Farhat currently volunteers for a number of civil society projects, supporting their causes by translating for other foreign volunteers and journalists, and acting as the Products and Endorsements Coordinator for the global Gaza’s Ark project, a campaign which seeks to challenge the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip. He also volunteered to work with children in UN schools during last year’s period of conflict.

In his video, ‘From Gaza to London – Help a Palestinian student to study in UK’, which has sparked support on Twitter through the hashtag #SupportAwni and has now been viewed more than 3,520 times, Farhat expresses his wish to “return to Palestine with the knowledge [he needs] to make a difference.”

“I have lived through many extreme and life-threatening experiences which have affected and shaped my personality and character, as well as influencing my aspirations for the future,” he comments.

He poignantly adds that he wishes to study so that he can overcome the feelings of “helplessness” caused by the extreme violence which has shaken the besieged Gaza.

“I believe that studying at SOAS will help me to explore the root causes of injustice and conflict, both in my country and across the world. I think this would enable me to focus my efforts in a more effective manner and educate others in how to do the same.”

To date, Farhat has raised £15,316- 61% of his total. His campaign will continue for a further 17 days, and is set to end at 23:59 on 12th February.

“I have come to believe strongly that knowledge and education are the most powerful tools that we can use to change the world,” Farhat added in his video.

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