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“I know that what I have lost. What was taken from me will never come back. But as a physician and a Muslim of deep faith, I need to move forward to the light, motivated by the spirits of those I lost. I need to bring them justice… I will keep moving but I need you to join me in this long journey.”

– Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish


On January 2009, an Israeli tank shelled the home of Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish in the Gaza Strip killing three of his daughters, Bessan, 21, Mayar, 15, and Aya, 13. That heartbreaking tragedy came minutes before Dr. Abuelaish spoke live on an Israeli TV program. His anguished cries for help captured hearts and headlines in Israel and around the world. It was Abuelaish’s response to the loss of his daughters that won him humanitarian awards around the world. Instead of seeking revenge or sinking into despair and hatred, Dr. Abuelaish has called for the people of the Middle East to stop the bloodshed and start talking to each other. His deepest hope is that his daughters will be the last sacrifice on the road to peace between Palestinians and Israelis.

The Daughters for Life Foundation was established in memory of Bessan, Mayar and Aya and seeks to honour their love of life and learning and their hopes and dreams for an educated future.

The Daughters for Life Foundation believes that lasting peace in the Middle East depends on empowering girls and young women through education to develop strong voices for the betterment of life throughout the Middle East. To that end, we provide scholarships and awards for aspiring young women that enable them to pursue studies otherwise inaccessible to them. Awards are offered to students in Palestine, Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria, as well as scholarships at the graduate and undergraduate level to study in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Our awards and scholarships are offered to young women of any Middle Eastern nationality or background, whether Arab or Israeli, and regardless of religious affiliation, whether Muslim, Jewish, or Christian. Our recipients are chosen not only for their academic achievements, often in the face of socio-economic adversity and hardship, but also for their character and commitment to improving the lives of girls and young women in the Middle East. Our goal is to invest in their potential for leadership and foster their success in whatever fields they choose to pursue.