"I want to serve my community and people"

Sadeel Nasser may only be 15 years old, but she already preparing for her future as a doctor.

The tenth grader was inspired from a very young age by watching her father study while getting his Masters in Nursing. He now focuses on heart surgeries in Ramallah hospital.

Sadeel and her family live in Jalazone camp, right outside Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.  Originally from Kafr 'Ana, near Jaffa, her family fled their villages in 1948 during the Arab-Israeli conflict. Jalazone camp was established in 1949 and houses around 9,450 refugees. Sadeel attended an UNRWA primary school through 8th grade, right across the street from the Beit El settlement. The camp sees frequent settler violence and Israeli Security Forces incursions, and Sadeel and her friends each know a friend or family member that has been hurt or killed. She sees her becoming a doctor as a way to help.

“I want to serve my community and people.” To Sadeel, becoming a doctor is joining a humanitarian profession and serving her community.  

But Sadeel’s passion to serve her community doesn’t have to wait until she is a doctor. She was elected to her school parliament after two of her teachers recognized her leadership skills and encouraged her to run. When she first spoke to her parents about it, she recognized the school parliament as a way to help her community more and more.

First, Sadeel gathered support first from her classmates, then started branching out to other classes and sharing her platform. She would beautify the classrooms by adding handmade crafts, decorations, and other visuals to make the classroom an inspiring place to learn. This was Sadeel’s first exposure to the democratic process, where she then went on to campaign for two days and encouraged her schoolmates to vote using secret ballot boxes placed around the school.

Sadeel and the rest of the Girls School parliament were elected on December 10, also the anniversary of the declaration of human rights. During her tenure, Sadeel advocated for several programs in the camp to help all of the residents. She had an initiative on educating the public on combatting violence against women and the elderly in the camp. She and her fellow parliamentarians also created several free activities in the camp, including arranging a trip for the elderly.

By serving in Parliament, Sadeel gained many skills as a leader through trainings with NGOs and community-based organizations. She even had the opportunity to meet with Samantha Powers, former US Ambassador to the United Nations, to share her camp’s story.

You can help bright Palestine refugee students like Sadeel realize their educational potential and dreams by funding a full tuition scholarship or by donating any amount you can to the UNRWA USA University Scholarship Fund. Thank you for funding the future!