From Palestine; seeking a Undergraduate degree in Psychology and is enrolled at Al-Azhar University – Gaza.
I am Taghreed Qassem, a 22 year old Palestinian from Gaza. I am one of eight siblings.
My father worked hard to provide for our education. I attended college and was the recipient of a scholarship that eventually dried up. I graduated from Al-Azhar University, psychology major. I could not get my diploma because l owe the University $1900 USD.
I worked as teacher assistant at a daycare, gave private lessons and worked at retail stores to raise funds. My wages were no match to my college debt.
During our visit to a mental health clinic, I met a woman who was physically abused by her husband. She did not trust people. She opened up to me. I continued to visit her after my class rotation ended. I stayed with her during rehab until she started a catering business. We continued to share laughs and recipes.
Gaza is the land of traumatized people. The siege compounded by harsh economic conditions and the constant fear for one's safety turned the entire population into traumatized persons.
Family violence and clinical depression are on the rise. When people are in a position to afford the medication, they are often held back from seeking treatment in fear of stigma.
Unless we treat depression and its manifestations as a mental disorder, we will continue to be victims of the disease and society. I dream of eventually pursuing a master's degree in psychiatry. I can only do that if I get my degree and gain experience.
Why Would Donors Fund You?
Psychotherapy is as urgently needed as medical care in Gaza. . We continue to live in fear: fear of unexpected bombing, fear of not being able to provide for ourselves and our family, and fear of a bleak future.
Our children are as traumatized as our adults.
I hope I can be one of many who can make life better in my community .
How Do You Plan to Payback?
- We all have a dream. My dream is to help other students complete their studies and follow my lead.
- I'll work hard to build my own clinic in order to help others overcome traumas, through free consultations and workshops.
- I will raise awareness about the need to seek medical treatment for psychological disorders and overcome social stigma associated with the disorder.
- I will raise funds to provide medications for those who cannot afford getting treatment for psychological disorders .
Volunteer Work/Social Capital
• I volunteered with Shams Association at a summer camp for children
• I volunteered with Ruya Foundation to help reintegrate traumatized individuals into Society.
• I volunteered with the Imam Ghina Association for Palestinian Heritage
• I also volunteered with senior care activities
• I ran a campaign of activities for children with cancer
• I volunteered in the Red Crescent: psychological first aid responses and rehabilitation of traumatized children
• I volunteered with government, civil and private institutions to provide counseling for mothers of children requiring behavior intervention.
What Have You Done to Improve Yourself? Awards and Achievements
I was committed to continuous continuous learning:
1- I attended Vision Foundation (Rouya) & Red Crescent Organization sponsored activities focusing on the treatment of child victims of sexual abuse and harassment.
2- Child therapy through drama at Guidance center.
3- One-on-one psychotherapy training
4- Self development
5- Trauma and Personality disorders.
6-I worked on improving my English