Wednesday 21 April 2021

Sheffield women show solidarity with Palestinian women

A group of Sheffield women have continued to support young Palestinian women throughout the pandemic, helping them to pursue their studies despite some living under occupation and siege conditions.

Sheffield Palestine Women’s Scholarship Fund was a charity set up in 2007 following an International Women’s Day Conference in 2006, to enable young Palestinian women on the Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank to progress into higher education.


Donations and fundraising go towards paying for the women's university fees, of which, 56 students in Gaza and three students in the West Bank are currently being supported through the scheme.

Sara Gowen, a founder of the Scholarship Fund and the secretary, said: “On International Women’s Day, it is good to recognise the links that women in Sheffield have made across the world. The Scholarship Fund is an example of how, by working together, we can support women’s right to education at every level.


She told how young Palestinian women often receive limited funding, as it goes to the sons in the family instead.


Sara believes the Scholarship Fund is one way that people within communities in Sheffield can help support the women in what is a basic right to education.


She added: “It is an important act of non political solidarity to support people living in very difficult situations.”


In July 2020, £31,000 covered 58 scholarships in Gaza and £8,000 covered three scholarships in the West Bank.

Wafaa El-Derawi, who volunteers with the Scholarship Fund in Gaza and works with the students, described how Covid-19 has added to the already difficult situation.


She said: “The situation here has its own peculiarity because here we are already living under a strict siege as a result of the Israeli military occupation. Another form of siege is the internal political fractures and the horrible state of poverty that is overwhelming the Gaza Strip. On top of all of this, we now have Covid-19 to deal with.”

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