CAIRO—Since 2016, an organization called MARJ3 has been helping students find news on scholarships and educational opportunities both inside and outside the Arab region. But the recent embrace of e-learning by academic institutions in the Arab region as a way to counter the spread of the novel coronavirus has caused a major change in the way the team works.
“Before the Covid-19 outbreak, we were informing students of the available opportunities and scholarships mainly through introductory [in person] seminars and workshops, in addition to advertising them on our website,” said Abdullah Samy, a co-founder of MARJ3. “But that has now changed.”
The platform has stopped all activities based on face-to-face communication, Samy said, and replaced them with online communication and video clips. The content has also been developed to match the growing number of online educational opportunities available today.
MARJ3—the name is a modified spelling of an Arabic word for “reference”—was born through the effort of three entrepreneurs, Sami al-Ahmad, Ahmed el-Gebaly and Abdullah Samy.
Al-Ahmad, a young Syrian who relocated to Cairo after war engulfed his home country, was working on Khatwa, an initiative encouraging displaced Syrians to complete their education. Later, he realized that the issue was not restricted to Syrians or refugees only and wanted to help anyone and everyone in the Middle East and North Africa region who was looking to pursue an education, a better professional opportunity or a career change. He and el-Gebaly and Samy then established MARJ3. Access to the website is free, although the organization charges universities to post about available opportunities.