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.