Montaser Al-Halabi works as a teacher at the teacher training institute and is coordinator of OLIVE project for Al-Azhar University in Gaza (AUG). In his interview by Helsingin Sanomat, Montaser gives an overview of the collaboration of AlAzhar with HU and UEF and how the four-year long capacity building project has been run. The focus is on STEM and teacher education. However, the university has suffered irreparable losses during bombardments, as the war is still ongoing.
The Al-Halabi family is temporarily accommodated in an establishment near Rafah border crossing. They may have to move again if the owner of the apartment has to evacuate his family to Rafah.
People live on the streets, in hospital and school yards of the UN Palestinian Refugee Agency (UNRWA), Al-Halabi comments.
The family left their home in Gaza City to Rafah crossing border more than two weeks ago, hoping that they would be safe there. But Rafah has been bombarded continuously, especially the night of Friday 27 October.
There is fear and anxiety everywhere, but I can't show weakness or despair in front of my children, he adds.
Al-Halabi has been to Finland twice, in March 2022 and August 2023, visiting the University of Helsinki and the University of Eastern Finland with a delegation of Professors and staff at AUG.