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Success Stories

Abdulrahman Moulieh

Since the start of the war in Syria, I always had concerns about my future. In 2011, I had to leave my family in Homs and continue my middle school studying in a different city. During that time, I was always concerned about my family’s safety. In 2012, the situation in Syria deteriorated. We could not find a safe place in our homeland, and my family decided to move to Lebanon. 

When we arrived there, my family and I started working so that we could buy our own tent, while staying at my uncle’s place in the meantime. I had the opportunity to continue

My studies through the SSSE (Society for Social Support and Education), which was led by Mrs.Nimat Bizri, and it was the first Nonprofit organization that offered Syrian based curriculum education for Syrian refugee students in Lebanon. The courses were taught using the Syrian Curriculum and we were able to catch up with our studies. I started getting support from this organization in 2012 when I was in grade 10, until 2015 when I was in grade 12th. I had the chance to take the final exams and graduate from high school. Life in Lebanon was so tough, living in a camp under extremely difficult circumstances had its impact on us all. Our small tent did not protect us from the harsh weather; the rain would often leak through the tent in the winter, and in the summer, the heat was intense. I had to work at a young age and study at the same time. I obtained my high school diploma in June 2015, and again my future seemed uncertain. It was not until October the same year when I applied for a scholarship from the Syrian American Medical Society(SAMS) and got accepted. The new challenge was to obtain a passport in the shortest time possible. After a lot of bureaucracy, I had it. I travelled to Turkey in January 2016 where I learned Turkish and improved my English. I was able to learn Turkish for the first few months after my arrival. My friends and I were applying for a visa to Bosnia while staying in Turkey. The visa process took a lot of time, but patience is, after all, a virtue. SAMS had an agreement with the Dean of Sarajevo Medical School to enroll us there. We went to Bosnia in November 2016, and we had to catch up with what we missed from the beginning of the semester. It was challenging to consolidate the basics of medicine in a shorter time than normal, but I was able to pass all my exams in the time allocated. I had a chance to reunite with my family in Canada in 2019. I was excited to see my family again after three years. I have recently graduated from medical school, and I am planning to continue my future career in Canada. Finally, I would like to thank my parents for their continuous support they offered me throughout the past years. I am grateful to the SSSE organisation, which was the basic-very first step towards my success, my friends, and everyone who helped me continue my education and to achieve my dream of becoming a doctor.

Yusef Al-Moulieh

Having been out of school for grade 8 in Syria, I got the opportunity to study grade 9th, in 2013 through SSSE (Society for Social Support and Education) in Lebanon. SSSE foundation supported me until I graduated from high school in 2016.
An unforgettable memory is attending the first few classes without even understanding a math problem, a chemistry reaction, a biology question, or even a simple English sentence. Four years later, I was awarded to the student with the highest graduation average among the Syrian students in Lebanon; still, there was zero chance of attending university. Shortly after that, I moved to Canada with very basic English.

I started attending English classes to pass the English proficiency tests required by universities. April 2018, when I was almost giving up on my dream of completing my studies, I got an email from Victoria College at the University of Toronto giving me an offer to the Life Science program.

Starting at one of the world’s number 39’s top universities like University of Toronto was not easy. However, I was able to get enrolled into the Biochemistry Specialist Program in my second year. Three years later, I completed the program and graduated with an Honors Bachelor of Science with Distinction. My undergraduate journey was challenging, but I made the dean number 39’s list, got an in-course regent’s number 39’s scholarship in all of the four years, got an NSERC-USRA scholarship -the most prestigious undergraduate research award in Canada-, got a Regional Award for graduate school from the McCaul McBain Foundation, and was a second author of a journal article (under review). Although I was admitted to the direct-entry PhD program in Biochemistry at the University of Toronto, I chose to do start graduate school with Master’s degree.

This journey was filled with hardships and challenges, but being always hard worker and optimistic, I am finding myself where I want to be. Last but not least, these accomplishments were not possible without the heroes -true heroes- who took the initiative and responsibility
to work voluntarily hard and educate a generation of Syrian refugee students in Lebanon like the SSSE foundation that was led by Nimat Bizri and the team of teachers. There are no words that can describe how grateful I am to have been taught by such teachers.

Ammar Kouchak

To begin the story, on August 22, 2012, the building in which our flat is located in Darayya, Damascus Suburbs, was bombed. My family and I were staying in the flat, which had been severely damaged. We were able to move to the basement of a relative’s house that day to escape the intense bombing until after the Darayya Massacre on the 24th and 25th of August, when my parents realized that we could no longer remain in Darayya and that we needed to relocate to a new, secure place.

We were unable to move to outside Darayya due to military barriers installed along major thoroughfares where potential clashes could occur. In October, the situation deteriorated significantly, and we were unable to continue to live under siege. We attempted to escape Darayya several times but were unable to do so until November 17th, when we went to Damascus for a week before heading to Lebanon. The

months of August to November 2012 were horrible and dreadful, as we were forced to live in miserable conditions under very heavy missile bombing.

We arrived at Lebanon on November 24th with only our clothes and a car that my father had decided to sell in order to start over in this new country. My siblings and I were able to enroll in the first school that was opened for Syrian students to teach them the Syrian Curriculum, under the direction of Mrs. Nimat Al Bizri and others. Even though we did not have any formal documents revealing our academic progress, our education was prioritized and facilitated by reducing these requirements We were then able to prepare all of the necessary official papers in order to enroll in official Lebanese Curriculum schools. Despite certain impediments, we were able to restart our lives during that time.

When I switched to an entirely new educational system, I had to learn the new curriculum in a new language, and this transition was difficult. I needed to devote more time and energy to studying in order to take over and keep on track. I passed the Brevet Official Exam with the second highest score in Lebanon and the first in Mount Lebanon. I enrolled in Chehime Official High School in 2016 and took the official Lebanese Baccalaureate exams after 3 years. I was able to attain the fifth rank over Lebanon and the second over Mount Lebanon in 2019.

During that time, my parents and all of my siblings were obliged to leave Lebanon and return to Syria due to decisions taken by the Ministry of Labor. There, they could stay and work elsewhere than Darayya, where our home had been entirely demolished and access was prohibited owing to military reasons in that region.

As for me, I was awarded 100% Financial Aid to cover my tuition fees at the American University of Beirut for three years in order to complete a Bachelor degree. I started university majoring in Biological Sciences-Premedical track, and looking forward to join medical school at AUB. One issue I had was with my expenses during my education, which were not covered by my scholarship. Fortunately, Mrs. Nimat Al Bizri, director of the “Society for Social Support and Education”, contacted me and offered assistance. I was given monthly pocket money to meet my expenses as well as assistance with various bills that stayed in my account, such as the Health Insurance Plan and Technology Fees. Society also helped me when we had to transition to e-learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic, providing me with a laptop and other necessities to ensure that my learning experience was not impeded. This is in addition to ongoing assistance, support, advice, and encouragement with anything I might need during my study.

On the 7th of May 2022, I received a BSc in Biology with distinction from the American University of Beirut. I was also accepted into the medical program at A.U.B. on the 12th of April. Society and another organization, Ajialouna, helped me at this stage to confirm my registration and pay the 4000$ fee required by the university to complete the process of my admission.

I consider myself really fortunate and blessed that I got the opportunity to pursue what I aspired to be one day. Without the kind and generous aid of Society and the individuals in charge of this organization, I would not have been able to obtain my current degree. I am quite grateful for their assistance, which has continued to this day. Thank you for taking the time and trouble to assist me despite the difficulties we all face in Lebanon. Your remarkable contribution to my life is truly unforgettable; it has motivated and pushed me to give back one day in the future since I know how it feels to help someone and make a difference in their lives. Now, I am truly looking forward to the incredible experience I will be embarking on in two months.

Nayfa Al-Esali

We never expected to leave our country and see our homes destroyed without being able to do anything. We never expected to witness everything fade away at that moment; our home, our school, our dreams and our future…

We left in a dark night and only carrying some clothes in the hope of returning a few days later, but the days have passed, and the months have passed, and we started to realize that no salvation is coming soon. Grief began to dominate us and despair infiltrated our weary souls; no study, no work, no hope. And If these things are lost, then life becomes meaningless.

My mother started looking for work, as a teacher, and during her quest, I heard about the SSSE’s work in the Bekaa region. We went to the headquarters, where we were met with respect and kindness. This made us very happy, and hope began to heal in our hearts again.

My brothers and I reached the secondary school where the teachers and the management team led by Madame Nimat Bizri were able to obtain a regular statement for us, in coordination with the Ministry.

I worked very hard, and I didn’t fail to manage everything. I still remember the first days of the exams which began in Ramadan. When the results came out and I had succeeded, the director visited me personally, along with a member of the organization to congratulate me.

SSSE also facilitated the process to get a grant for registration at several universities. I enrolled in AUST, where I majored in information & communication technology. And here I am, a proud graduate thanks to God, and thanks to the efforts of my second family, SSSE that I love and respect and I will always remember their efforts which made me what I am today.

Najwa Horani

My name is Najwa Horani. I am a graduate from the American University for Science and Technology (AUST). To talk about my journey, I need to begin by thanking the Society of Social Support and education(SSSE) who supported me, helped me, and stood by me throughout the way. It all started when I went back to school, after my education had stopped for two years. I first registered at Al-Sawiri school in the afternoon shift for Syrian Refuges funded by SSSE. This chance allowed me to complete Grade 10 ,11, and 12 and successfully get my Baccalaureate degree. After that, SSSE’s support for my fellow classmate and I kept going, as the organisation helped us get scholarships from AlGourair foundation that cover the entire costs of a Bachelor’s degree. This opportunity allowed me to complete my degree in Translation and graduate successfully in July 2022. 

At a time when I was not going to school, the idea of completing my education was a far-fetched dream to me. Today, this dream is my reality – and I cannot wait to continue living this dream and aiming higher and higher. 

Hiba Al-Waw

My name is Hiba El-Waw, a graduate of AUST University specializing in translation.

A few years ago, I came to Lebanon with my family, fleeing the war, which destroyed everyone and stole our future. We came to Lebanon hoping that we would compensate for what the war stole from us. I searched for many schools and walked many paths in the hope of completing my studies, in the end I found a school that accepted me and contained me among its seats without any material remuneration, and I always asked who was the person who had been sponsoring me?! Who paved the way for me to study?! The days pass by and a lady visits our school called Mrs. Nimat, she took care of us, as well as of all the school expenses. She turned out to be like a mother to us. 

We graduated from high school successfully. We were proud of ourselves, and so was Ms. Nimat, who sought and arranged for us a scholarship to cover the costs of the university to study the major we wanted. And here I am, a university graduate who became a translator after several years. Her work is still ongoing, as she is still trying to secure job opportunities for us.

And from here, on my behalf, I thank Mrs. Nimat and the Society for Social Support and Education for all my academic years, which testify for their grace and generosity.  

Ahmad Al-Hamwi

Ahmad Al-Hamwi

My name is Ahmad al-Hamwi. I am a Syrian refugee in Lebanon who was supported by SSSE during my educational journey.

At a young age, I was living a peaceful and fulfilling life in my home country Syria; but that was before the war erupted. As the war started, me and my family’s circumstances deteriorated, and my father left us. I became the sole provider for my family. We all moved to Lebanon in 2014. At that time, I did not plan on studying, and my main goal was that finding a rjob to support my family in Lebanon that would allow me to provide my younger siblings with a good education. And I started working towards these goals.

As I was looking for ways to provide for my family, I found out that SSSE is supporting Syrian refugees in Lebanon and providing them with quality education. I took this opportunity and was able to continue my education in Lebanon, completing the 9th grade until the 12th grade. Working and studying at the same time was very hard, I was grateful that this opportunity was provided amidst the difficult conditions me and Syrian refugees in Lebanon were facing.

I studied the English language to be well prepared to be accepted at a local American University, a golden opportunity that I only got through SSSE. I stumbled upon many obstacles when I started studying in a brand-new educational system. Despite the hardships of studying and being the family breadwinner at the same time, I did it proudly. I graduated at the beginning of 2022 holding a Bachelor of Arts and Science in Translation.

Today, I am still on the hunt for a scholarship opportunity that would allow me to pursue a Master’s degree – which I think would be the most suitable step for a stable and fulfilling future.

I deeply appreciate and thank each and everybody who helped me and supported me during this journey, starting with my mother, my friends, and most importantly SSSE.