By Nudge Sustainability Reporter Mostafa Shahat
It’s the time now to be creative in finding new sustainable solutions for social problems that have been existing for years, poverty is one of them. Jihad Shojaeha is a social entrepreneur originally from Palestine who founded Esnad (English: support) in 2006. Esnad is a NGO that fights poverty through education. It is supporting underprivileged high school students to join universities in Palestine by paying the universities tuitions fees for them during the 4 or / and 5 years of the their study period, and ongoing they provide them with career development trainings and coaching. So, they can work and support their families right after graduation. In return these university students offer part of their time to school students and teach them classes in Science, Math and English.
Jihad grew up in very hard conditions.
Jihad: “My family's financial conditions were difficult (...) I was going to leave my university because my family couldn’t pay my university tuition fees anymore”.
However, Jihad succeed to graduate from Birzeit University in 2004, specializing in the field of Psychology and Sociology. After graduation, he started working as program coordinator at Birzeit University, running different programs inside the university for undergrads about Career Development, Soft skills, Career Coaching, etc..
Jihad: “I was lucky to have such a job opportunity at one of the best old universities in Palestine, I was paid well (...) I decided with a group of my friends to save money every month, so we could start our idea by supporting one student to join the university”.
In 2007; Jihad and his friends had paid for the first student to go to Birzeit University to study the French language. They have been in her shoes before and they knew that her family couldn’t support her study. That’s why they wanted to help her to go to university, so she could support her family after graduation when she starts working. In return she has helped 4 school students in their Science, Math and English classes. In the following year, Jihad and his friends had supported 5 students to join different majors in different universities.
Jihad: “It was a little bit challenging to save more money for more students (...) We needed the private sector’s help”
They have reached out to Aramex who supported them to fund 10 students to pay for their university tuition fees, and these 10 students supported 50 school students in their study.
Jihad: “The pilot was very successful. The university students succeeded to increase the marks for the school students by at least 5 marks in each subject”
Then, the next year Aramex had offered $50,000 per semester to support 300 university students who would reach out and help over 1,400 school students.
Jihad: “We aimed to cover different fields starting from Medicine, Engineering, Science, Commerce, and these fields are required in the Palestine community"