Hi. I am Josh. I am 26 years old, from Sheffield and want more than anything else to study an MA in Human rights at UCL. I have a place on the course but cannot afford to fund my studies.
I am hoping to raise enough money to cover the tuition fees for the course, which are £10,765. I have set my minimum at £5,560 which is the amount it costs to study the course part time.
When I was 18, after finishing sixth form I spent three months in Israel and Palestine. I felt that many people held such strong views about this part of the world, but many had never actually visited. I wanted to experience the reality for myself and to be able to draw my own conclusions, based on my own experiences. Not swayed by political allegiances or rivalries.
I left Jerusalem at the end of December 2008. Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli bombing campaign and subsequent invasion of Gaza had already begun by this time and continued until January 2009. 1404 people lost their lives (according to B’Tselem, the Israeli information centre for human rights in the Occupied Territories).
My experiences in Israel and Palestine had a profound effect on me. It opened my eyes to how complex and seemingly intractable the situation is. I was struck by how both Palestinians and Israelis in Jerusalem would talk, optimistically, of a lasting solution, of the possibility of one person one vote within the entirety of historic Palestine or at the very least of the need for tolerance and understanding between the the two peoples. And how this optimism turned over night, with the initiation of Operation Cast Lead, into the more traditional fear and distrust that has come to define the relationship between Israelis and Palestinians.
I returned home feeling that I had not made any sort of positive impact. That in fact the situation was worse than when I had arrived. I realised that in order to make a real, lasting and positive difference to people, and especially to those people who need it most, I would have to first go through the accepted and required channels. Good intentions will only get you so far.
So I went to the University of Manchester to study Modern Middle Eastern History and graduated with 2:1 in July 2013. After a year of unsuccessfully applying for jobs and internships I realised that I still required another qualification in order to compete for the kind of jobs I was applying for.
I received an unconditional offer to study Human Rights MA at UCL starting in September 2014. At the time UCL ran a bursary scheme called the Graduate Support Bursary which aimed to allow under represented groups at postgraduate level the opportunity to study a masters. Unfortunately I was unsuccessful with my application and the Graduate Support Bursary has since been cancelled.
I believe that this Masters will allow me to finally do what I have been working towards since returning from Jerusalem in 2008. That is to be able have a lasting, positive impact on those people who continue to be affected by the various conflicts in the Middle East.
By working through recognised International Institutions, bringing awareness to their suffering and aiming to put a stop to it.
I am determined to complete it by any means necessary. If I am unsuccessful with this fundraising project I plan to join the Royal Navy in order to save enough money to fund myself. After already putting my studies on hold for a year I am eager to start this Masters as soon as possible. But if joining the Navy is the only way of raising the funds, then that is the path I will take.
I am currently working in the residences at the London School of Economics, and have experience in a number of different roles, from being a chef to working as a roofer. All of these experiences were valuable and taught me a lot, and only strengthened my desire to study this masters and pursue a career in the field of Human Rights
Please contribute anything that you can to help me pay for the Masters and be able to start studying in September 2015. If you are unable to contribute then you can also support me by sharing this page, telling your friends about this project or just sending a message of support. A big thank you to everyone who took the time to read this