We want you to hear directly from one of the 140 students who are receiving a scholarship this year to study at the university:

Sajd was born in 2001 in Rafah in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. She has five brothers and her dad is a retired worker who has a passion for languages. She is a sophomore currently studying Software Engineering at Information Engineering and Technology Faculty at Al-Azhar University.

She explains “My learning journey of software started when I was young and my brother always told me about the importance of mathematics and software in our life and how they will have a big impact on the future.

“I find my study of software a kind of joy mixed with effort, especially after the outbreak of the corona pandemic as it affected the learning strategies in many institutions including my university. The university, which I still remember its halls and corridors when I walked out of it after finishing the first semester of my first year.

“The first year is considered the most important for students, as they learn all about college life. However, Covid-19 changed everything, for example, all lectures are given online so we cannot interact with the lecturers and classmates, and we cannot ask the questions we want to ask when we do not understand. We ended up spending long periods in front of the computer screens to finish our classes and projects. Online teaching is stressful. On top of the all causes of stress is the frequent cutting electricity during the lectures.”

Sajd does not have her own laptop but managed to need to organize her schedule with her brothers to watch her lectures and complete her coursework. She told us “I love my major very much and I hope to be a shining star in this field in the future for my parents to be proud.”