Youth in Focus: An Interview with Scholarship recipient Mari Qawareeq

Mari receives her scholarship from Humaira Wakili, Dr. Alia, and Ruba Hayfayda Mari Qawareeq is the winner of TYO's University Scholarship Competition. The scholarship was awarded to Mari by Dr. Alia Assali, Dean of the Education Faculty at An Najah National University.

What is your reaction to receiving this scholarship?

It is an amazing feeling. I’m so glad to win the scholarship. I believe I worked very hard over the past three sessions volunteering at TYO, so I'm proud to have my efforts and hard work rewarded.

How will this scholarship help you in achieving your educational goals?

The scholarship will help me pay for my university tuition, getting me one step closer to graduation and my BA degree, which will help me get a job in the future. As there are two of us currently studying at the university, this is a very difficult financial time for my family. I was uncertain if I'd even be able to enroll in the university this fall because of a lack of funding, so I am so grateful to TYO for keeping me on my academic track.

What do you feel you have gained by volunteering at TYO?

Volunteering at TYO has enabled me to develop my personality and skills. I've improved my leadership skills- the area in which I felt I needed the most work. I also improved my time management skills and patience in dealing with children. Moreover, I got the chance to develop my communication skills by meeting and interacting with more people. Prior to volunteering at TYO, I was not a very sociable person- particularly at school- but now I can say that I have a solid network. I also learned the importance of being strong- that we shouldn’t give up easily and should fight to achieve goals.

What skills did you gain from your experience at TYO that you think will help you when you graduate and look for a job?

I am studying in the psychology department, so the volunteer work I do at TYO is directly related to my career field. As such I believe the experience at TYO will help me a lot as I've already started to develop real world experience while I'm still at university. I hope future employers will see this as a strength, thus making me a strong candidate for whichever job I apply for.

TYO believes in women's empowerment and equality. Has your volunteer experience in any way changed your opinion about your role as a woman in your community? If so, how?

Volunteering at TYO has changed many of my beliefs. As a result of my experience at TYO, I now strongly believe that women have a place and role in the community. Prior to coming to TYO, I'd only been exposed to academic life and had never taken on a real leadership role, but being at TYO I was able to see that not only was I contributing, but I was surrounded by many other women who were working hard to improve their community. Through this, I really began to see how important my role is as a woman and that I can make a difference.

-Interview conducted by Volunteer Coordinator Ruba