Like many bright Lebanese students, Samer Al-Gharib had to move away from his home country to pursue education.
At 18 years old, he moved to the United Kingdom to study Bioengineering. But at 22, Samer found himself struggling to pay tuition fees to get him through his master’s degree in Biomaterials and Tissue engineering at University College London (UCL).
This is due to both the pandemic and the economic crisis in Lebanon. With the collapse of the banking system, parents are not able to transfer money from their own savings to their children studying and living abroad.
In September, Samer was just days from going homeless before he got accepted at a job in a restaurant after handing out 150 resumes, according to London media. The job would help keep him afloat, but would not be able to cover his tuition fees.
As a last resort, Samer launched a GoFundMe campaign and, in a beautiful story of human kindness, people managed to donate beyond the goal of his campaign. People raised £19,123 (over $26,000) to help Samer out in his time of need.
“I want to ensure every single person who helped, from the largest donation down to the smallest and every share in between, that your help will not go to waste. I can happily and humbly count each of you as my friends. You have helped me in my time of need and I only hope that I can do the same in the future,” Samer wrote.
Once he’s paid his school fees, he has promised to donate the rest of the donations to the Lebanese Red Cross.
It is worth mentioning Samer’s family lives just 20 minutes from the site of the Beirut explosion and were shaken by the shockwave that also violently impacted many of his friends in Lebanon.
Samer was not immediately available for comment.
Another Lebanese student struggling to finance her education abroad is Rita Chibli, 24. Chibli, who seeks to become a doctor, launched a last attempt to continue her studies in General Medicine in Belgorod, Russia.