2018 is a defining year for the Daughters for Life Foundation (DFL). Eleven young women from our scholarship program will graduate this year from across the world’s greatest universities. These brilliant young women came from countries like Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Syria and Iraq. And they won our hearts and our prestigious scholarship because of their sheer intellect and their resolve to do better for their communities

We are proud to announce this year’s list of graduating DFL scholars, which is the highest in number the foundation has ever recorded since its inception.

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The DFL scholarship has been life-changing for these eleven women from the Middle East. These scholars overcame the hardship of poverty, the violence of political conflict and the unyielding grip of gender discrimination to pursue education, their most certain route to bringing change to their countries.

Today, armed with a degree, they are aiming to play a productive role in their communities and their economies.

Reem Razzouk spent the last five years at Asian University for Women in Bangladesh, in the Politics, Philosophy and Economics Program. She says this experience has given her the motivation to continue the journey of developing her skills. “I am proud of the knowledge I have gained and all my achievements in college. I will not rest yet. I have the courage now to go ahead and extend my pursuit of higher education.”

In her words of advice to the future scholars of Daughters for Life Foundation, Reem says, “you are the only one who can change your own path. So, believe in yourself. You must be your number one support. Set your goals and make a plan. Don’t be discouraged by social challenges. Instead focus on your academic performance and turn every negative into positive.”

Eman Atbash of Palestine is another shining star from among our 2018 graduating scholars. She is completing the Accounting program at Collège Boréal in Canada. “It was such an amazing experience, I will forever cherish every moment I spent at College Boreal, the welcoming environment, and most importantly the teachers,” she recalls.

In the true spirit of a Daughters for Life scholar, Eman used her free time to tutor other students who needed her. The talented scholar has also been nominated for the Gisèle-Chrétien Excellence Award at Collège Boréal. She says she is not done yet with her education. “Collège Boréal and DFL have motivated me to seek higher education. I have realized that I want to pursue my dreams. I now have a goal in mind and I am not afraid to achieve it.”

Najla Fawwaz, who has just graduated from the Biochemistry program at the New College of Florida in the U.S, shares her feelings. “My experience with Daughters for Life, has been great and fulfilling. I’d like to thank the foundation for awarding me the scholarship and the financial support they extended towards my higher education. My time at New College has been a highly productive and an enriching experience. I am currently applying for a master’s program in Public Health at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. I am also looking for jobs as a research assistant or a lab technician.”

Hailing from Iraq, Leen Sabounchi spent the last few years at the University of Leeds in U.K. on the Daughters for Life Scholarship. She wants to use her degree in Graphics and Communication Design to work as a Graphic Designer and also run her own fashion business where she can create her own textiles and fabrics. Encouraging more young females from the Middle East to complete their higher education, Leen Sabounchi says, “my advice to current and future DFL scholars would be to take your education seriously. And also, to take social matters seriously. Meet new people from different cultures and learn about the world we live in.”

Every year, the Daughters for Life scholarship program selects a group of women from around the Middle East through a rigorous evaluation process. The mission of the foundation is to allow women especially from troubled circumstances to take charge of their destinies and become leaders of tomorrow. When educated, women can steer not just their communities but also their countries towards a peaceful future. And this, the foundation believes would be a lasting solution to the strife in the Middle East.

DFL supports girls and young women from the Middle East who show strong academic ability despite financial hardship and who have a proven record of social work. DFL does this through its partnered institutions across U.K, U.S., Canada and Bangladesh.

The DFL scholarship, garnered through our generous partners and donor,s is just a means to lead these bright young women on a productive path in life. Many of our scholars come from war-torn nations or are perhaps the first in their town to leave their country and study in a foreign university. They have fought poverty, prejudice and violence to chase their dream of studying science or the arts. With every DFL scholar that we recruit each year from the Middle East, we are opening doors for other daughters in those communities to realize their role in society and explore their potential through the power of education.

“Any ordeal is a call for self-reconstruction,” said Abeer Obaido, a Liberal Arts student from Palestine, on her application form when she signed up for the DFL scholarship program in 2012. Today, she is completing her thesis on Emotional and Optical Illusion and studying for the baccalaureate exam this fall. Growing up, she and her family moved from Syria to Jordan to UAE in search of a stable life. Poverty and frequent disruptions in her education never deterred her spirit. A sufferer of Lupus and prone to battling depression, Abeer today is committed to healing others with art therapy.

From the class of 2018, we are also proud to share the story of DFL scholar Asmaa Abushabab. Studying Public Health at the Asian University for Women in Bangladesh, Asmaa is also working as an intern at the Chittagong Research Institute for Children Surgery where she helps children who need urgent care on humanitarian grounds. Asmaa has also represented her university at the Hult Prize, which is described as the ‘Nobel Prize for students’. The Hult Prize is a prestigious opportunity to participate in where students brainstorm breakthrough ideas to solve the world’s toughest challenges. Asmaa stood first in the preliminary stage of this championship.

As these eleven graduates prepare to set foot into the world as medical professionals, policymakers, artists, therapists and businesswomen, the Daughters for Life Foundation is pleased to have supported their dreams. The successful journey of these eleven young women strengthens our resolve to continue in our mission to spread the gift of education to talented girls from the Middle East. We invite educational institutes, businesses and individuals to contribute to our cause to help change the lives of the daughters of the Middle East.