2017 BuildPalestine Scholarship Fund for Changemakers

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Ramallah Palestine

2017 BuildPalestine Scholarship Fund for Changemakers

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

-Nelson Mandela

The BuildPalestine Scholarship Fund for Changemakers (منحة لنبني فلسطين) aims to support the future changemakers of Palestine, reward students who are active in community service, and inspire others to take action.

This is Palestine’s first scholarship to reward community service. We want to celebrate students who are active in their community and are taking action to create change. We hope that this scholarship will become amongst the most prestigious scholarships in Palestine, encouraging the leaders of tomorrow, and inspiring others to take action.

The scholarship will cover tuition costs for 5 scholars for the 2017-2018 academic school year. This year we are piloting our first cohort in partnership with Birzeit University and all donations will be made directly to the Birzeit University Fund and are tax deductible in the U.S. Next year, we will work with ESNAD, a local educational NGO, to open the scholarship to students enrolled in any Palestinian university.

We are looking to raise $10,000 to cover the first cohort of scholars (5 students)– all additional funds raised above this target will go towards future scholars!


Selection Process:

We partnered with Birzeit University’s Advancement Office, which works to ensure that students are able to afford a university education at Birzeit by raising funds to support students with financial need.

Applicants were asked to submit an essay to the following question:

What is your vision for Palestine? How will your education help you contribute to that vision?

Fifteen finalists were selected for an interview, and the selection committee selected the following scholars based on their community service and leadership potential. We were incredibly inspired by the energy that these students brought to the interview, and left with a renewed sense of hope for the future– after all, these students are the future.

Meet the 2017 Changemakers

Fatmeh Hammad

Human Rights & Advocacy
Growing up in the heart of international law violations carved out my talent in writing, as I would reflect on what was happening around me in short poems and publications for newspapers. I decided to study international law and am currently a member of the Think Tank Project with PalVision, where we conduct research on the discrimination faced by Palestinian youth in Jerusalem. We drafted policy documentaries that were taken to the UN this year to represent the suffering of Palestinian youth under the Israeli Occupation.

Nicola Kawas
Economic Development
After two years of my studies in Greece, my scholarship was cut off because of the economic recession in the country. As a result, I had to come back home and start all over again in Birzeit University. Since then, I have been active in the field of economic development. I established the Palestinian youth network for social and political activists that works against economic corruption. We organized the first flash mob about corruption in the world and we won first place in the UNDP International anti-corruption day competition in 2014.
I believe economic empowerment for youth is vital. This is why I am currently working on a career mentoring program for university students and fresh graduates. This program will help them identify the skills needed for better job opportunities given the current demand in the labor market.

Malak Afouneh

Language and Culture
My general concern is to make a better society in which we can creatively face our crises, and find possibilities within the limitations. For this purpose I establish and contribute to groups that produce creative, critical, and experimental cultural content.
I started by co-founding “Origami Palestine” from which we introduce and spread the art of Origami in Palestine. I then joined “I Believe in Science” initiative where we translate scientific articles to Arabic. My combined passion of arts and language led me to co-found “Mudam” project with my friends. On Mudam, we translate selected philosophical texts about Image, photography, and photographical practices into Arabic. Recently, I started a philosophy meetup where people discuss specific ideas, texts, and thinkers, because I believe that philosophy can help think in a more structured and constructive way.

Ameen Taha

Youth Entrepreneurship
The future of Palestine is in the hands of today’s youth, and this is why I believe in youth empowerment. During my university years, I have been able to organize and participate in many social activities in the fields of education, advocacy and entrepreneurship. I have recently founded a platform called “TollabCo”, which is the first freelancing platform for university students. I also work with the unit of innovation and creativity in my university to introduce the concepts of entrepreneurship to students and mentor them through their work.

Layla Taher

Urban Design
From a young age, I was eager to participate in volunteering opportunities organized by my school and other community organizations. During the war on Gaza in 2013, I helped Qawareb Group collect and package  supplies for victims in Gaza. I also volunteered in the AlBireh Library to organize books.
I discovered my passion in urban design and decided to study Architectural Engineering through a volunteering project that I participated in while still in school. We rehabilitated a piece of land in front of Al Fajr School and transformed it into a place where students can play and gather after school. Since then, I have been interested in transforming other public spaces into attractive places where communities can come together.


You can find more information on the scholarship here or by emailing our team at info@buildpalestine.com

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