DHAKA: Ibrahim Kishko arrived in Bangladesh from Gaza two years ago to study medicine — a dream he hopes to fulfill soon so that he could be of use back home, where a month of Israeli attacks has brought unprecedented death and destruction.
Kishko is one of 100 Palestinian students currently pursuing higher education on the Bangladeshi government’s scholarships. Most of them study medicine.
Kishko, 21, is enrolled in the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery program at Dhaka Medical College.
“I need maybe three years more, then I will move to Palestine … so I can help my people there, I can help my family, my relatives, everyone will have access to me,” he told Arab News.
“If I want to help my family, I have to complete my MBBS now. My responsibility, I feel, is to complete my studies and to get my MBBS. After that, I will be able to help.”
Israel has been bombing the densely populated Palestinian territory every day since Oct. 7, in retaliation for an attack by the Gaza-based militant group Hamas.
Israeli airstrikes on civilians have since killed more than 11,200 people, mostly women and children, and wounded tens of thousands more.
Gaza’s Ministry of Health estimates that among the dead are 200 doctors, paramedics and nurses.
The World Health Organization says that 36 health facilities, including 22 hospitals, have been destroyed or damaged, and only a handful remain operational, as the number of injured people is surging every day.
There is no one in Gaza who has not lost a family member to the ongoing Israeli onslaught, including Kishko, whose family’s neighborhood in Gaza City was bombed by the Israeli military on Oct. 30.
“They bombed three houses … they killed 175,” he said. “Maybe 15 out of them are my cousins and others, my relatives. I have actually a list of the names of my family members who were killed, and most of them are children and women.”
Isaac Namoura, Kishko’s peer from Shaheed Sharowardi Medical College in Dhaka, is originally from the West Bank, but as a Palestinian also shares the same fate and history as his colleague from Gaza.
He wants to give his all to become useful for his people and country.
“A lot of people think that it’s very hard to give something to the society, but it’s not, especially when you live in the Palestinian society, (where) everyone has lost something, everyone has lost land, everyone had lost a brother, a father, a sister, a son,” Namoura said.
“It’s very easy to contribute to such a society because we, the Palestinians, we appreciate everything. We appreciate the little things we have in life because a lot of good things were taken from us.”
When he completes medicine, Namoura wants to get his license as soon as possible and find a job to earn money that would allow him to establish his own clinic, where he wants to admit everyone.
There will be a wooden box at the clinic for payment, for those with the means to pay. But those who cannot, will still be treated equally.
“Medical ethics teaches that you treat people no matter their background … you don’t segregate between people. You treat people equally,” he told Arab News. “This is very important for me, because if I become a doctor, inshallah, which I am planning to, it’s going to be a big help to my people.”
For now, he needs to wait another three years and complete his studies the best he can.
“It’s very, very important for me to be the best doctor I can,” he said. “When I go back home … I’ll come back with knowledge, come back with something to offer.”