My Journey towards education and humanity by Sarah, Egypt

YaLa Young Leaders changed me. When I noticed the Facebook ads for the page the first time, I was about 22 years old and in my 6th year of medical school. It was interesting; the page was suggested by Facebook because one person I was following liked the page. I think it was a good chance to make Israeli friends; I was curious to learn more about Israel before, but in Egypt there is no way to do that. The internet helped me make friends with Jewish Israelis.

The first post from the YaLa page which attracted me toward the group and made me want to be actively involved in it was an advertisement for the YaLa Academy. I applied to it, and perhaps I was afraid, but I was happy to do it. YaLa became the first thing I checked when I was opening Facebook. I started my journey of education at YaLa; then I studied Democratic Development at Stanford University, and it was a gift from YaLa to me. I also studied two courses at the United States Institute of Peace about conflict analysis and conflict management, and I was awarded a gift to study women empowerment at UMASS (University of Massachusetts of Boston). Each course added a lot to my own experience and helped me develop. Along the way I got exposed to some security troubles, but the love in my heart toward Israel, Israeli friends, and YaLa continued.

Thanks to YaLa, my life changed toward humanity, and YaLa taught me a lot of lessons. First, to be human, second, to treat others as humans and not to be hard upon other. Everyone has their own suffering and everyone struggles in a certain battle in their life, so I began to look at other people as humans who should be respected and who deserve dignity. By the time I changed my way of thinking, I realized that I felt the human side in me. One day I read a quote from an unknown writer which said, “You’ve never been too important to be nice to other people.”

Perhaps it was because my life was full of injustice that I had been so attracted to love Israel and Israelis. It somehow felt like it was justice. My Israeli friends changed me, and helped me love continuous education, so after a period full of troubles I decided to go back to education. Finally to my Israeli friends, I love you. I respect your way of dealing with the other side, you educated me on love and friendship and I love you.

 

This is just one example of the important work produced YaLa’s citizen journalists, a program funded by the European Union’s Peacebuilding Initiative in order to enable young leaders from across the Middle East and North Africa to document and share their experiences of the region.

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