My two truths…
- I was forced to flee Syria with my family when I was just 12 years old.
- I couldn’t go to school for two years because the schools in Beirut refused to enrol me.
And a lie…
- Not being able to go to school made me feel defeated.
Twenty-four-year-old Hamza missed two years of school after leaving his homeland, but the experience only made him stronger and even more determined to succeed.
Growing up in Idlib, Syria, I was one of the top students in my year and loved playing with my friends at school. But my life changed forever when I was 12 years old – when war broke out across the country.
My family fled to Lebanon and made our way to Beirut, where my father owned a curtain-making shop. I was excited to put down roots and make new friends, but that wasn’t to be – we were outsiders who didn’t speak the language and weren’t even allowed to enrol in school.
People across the UK have shown incredible solidarity with families forced to flee. Take our 2 Truths And A Lie quiz to learn about all the amazing contributions #refugees have made to British society 👉 https://t.co/EOu7xBgmi3
(1000 adults age 16-74, surveyed by IPSOS) pic.twitter.com/i6HZEkovLe
— UK for UNHCR (@UNRefugeesUK) November 26, 2022
For two years, I worked in my father’s shop – daydreaming constantly about going back to school and studying. I even dreamed about doing exams! My father was just as keen for me to carry on with my education and finally managed to relocate our family to a small village outside of Beirut.
There, things were so different – people were kind to us and welcomed us into their community. I returned to school, did well and eventually went on to study Network Engineering & Telecommunication at university.
In my first year at uni, my father passed away and I was worried about paying my tuition fees. But a friend told me about UNHCR’s DAFI Scholarship Programme, which supports refugees studying in their country of asylum or home country. I was lucky enough to get a one of these scholarships – it’s given me hope of a better future and inspired me to achieve my goals.
Now I’m planning to apply for a master’s degree, so I can specialise in my field, get a decent job and make my family proud of me. Those years I spent out of school didn’t defeat me – in fact, they made me stronger, wiser and all the more determined to do well in life.
But I still can’t believe I was denied the chance to learn for so long. To me, education is a human right, not a privilege. And no refugee child should be prevented from pursuing their dreams.
To read more stories like Hamza’s, please visit this web page.
Visit this link to play our ‘2 Two Truths and a Lie’ game.