Muzoon Rakan Almellehan – TRANSCRIPT
Refugees are normal people, just like you, just like me. I have never ever thought I will become a refugee. When the war began in Syria, everything changed upside down. There was no hope. There was no future.
When my dad saw that, we cannot go to school properly. We cannot get our basic needs. He cannot go to his work, as a teacher. He decided that to flee our home, to go to Jordan, to live in a refugee camp; we had no choice but definitely I was really sad. I was crying all the time. I didn’t want to flee my home, to leave everything behind: my friends, my relatives, my country where I was born, especially my school. I thought I cannot continue my education in a place like the camp.
And when my dad said “Don’t bring heavy things with you; just we want to take with us and pick up the most important things that we need.” I didn’t listen. I picked up with me my school books and they didn’t bring anything with me to the refugee camp, just my books.
When we were on our way to Jordan, and we had to walk for 3 hours to get in the border with Jordan, my dad saw me I was struggling to carry my bag, and he said “Let me carry it and yes, you cannot carry it”. And when he carried that bag and he said “It’s really heavy; what did you bring?” I said I brought my books. He just said “You are crazy. Why you brought your books. You don’t need them.” I told my dad, “If I didn’t find school in a refugee camp I will study by those books.” These books are my power. These books are my future.
Upon our arrival to the refugee camp, it was really difficult to deal with the life there, to start in a new place, where there was no electricity, to live in tent, and place completely different from Syria. Syria was different than what the camp is.
And first question I asked my dad not to go outside the camp or to get a better life, just I asked him where is the school? And when he found out there is a school, that moment changed my life. And I realized all challenges nothing in front of getting on the right of education. First day I went school and I was thrilled to come back to school again and to have my knowledge and as a person who believes in education.
But sadly I saw many girls and many children who don’t believe in education, think the education is not the priority, it is not the best way for the future. In that moment and as a person who considers education is really important for me, I consider it important for everyone. So I told myself to start my own mission to encourage them to go back to school.
And when I was going from tent to tent to tell the people about the importance of education, they were saying it is not your job to tell us or to advise us but they give me stronger motivation. As they told me, those people who did not listen to me, there is still something to do, because I believe in education, education is the way that we can face challenges. And it is the way we can rebuild our countries again. We need a strong generation, generation to be educated not just to be called refugees. want to be hard numbers, not to count us as numbers in media or just we are refugees. We want the refugees to have other names: to be doctors, to be engineers, to be teachers and whatever they want.
Unfortunately most people think that refugees just they need basic needs but this is not true. We need more valuable things, it is education, it is something that could make me a person. And education is the thing which gives us everything.
After 3 years of living in the camp and talking on the behalf of children and I became very known as a education advocate for them. I had a chance to come here to the UK. I was really happy to come here to start new life, to think more about my education. But I didn’t stop to fight for others. Yeah that is great. I go to school and I have chances here, and I can continue my studies. But I cannot be completely happy without seeing all the children can have access to education. I will do as much as I can to help them, to be heard, those people who are suffering, who are living in refugee camps they didn’t choose to become refugees. It is not their fault. It is something of not their making, but the hard situation, the difficult circumstances which forced them to become refugees and to suffer in their lives.
No matter who you are, no matter how old you are, the most important is to have education, to have knowledge, to fight for your rights. Weapon like education could give us everything we want. We can make change and we can make our lives much better. I am not talking in front of you today because I am better than people or I am special. No, that is not true. I am standing today, because I have responsibilities more than people. when you talk on behalf of others that means you have to be strong enough to make their voices to be heard and to tell people about their suffering.
Look how lucky you are! You might think the people who are listening today all of them maybe they think our lives are not matter and we suffer. We don’t want to go school. For example, I cannot do anything but just look to the people who don’t have education, who are suffering to have access to knowledge. You have schools, you have teachers, you have friends. But other people they don’t. We have to stand with them and to give them opportunities. It is not something that’s easy to do. It is really difficult but it is not impossible. Just we have to start.
As a person I can spread my voice, I can tell you my stories and it is not just lesson to tell you about the importance of education. All of us know about the importance of education. And we know that education is the way to build our future especially people here, they know these things. But the most important thing that we have to know, to think about these things after we go home, we don’t want to make today this event just a talk and then forget. We have to go to our homes and teach our children and to give them more hope and to let them love each other and accept others
Refugee people didn’t want to flee their homes. So when we accept them, when we give them opportunities in that moment we can make them strong enough to go and rebuild their countries again; that is what we have to do. It is easy to talk about people, but it is difficult to help them. And me alone I cannot do anything. Every single person here in this room could help us, could give us more opportunities. When you stand with us when you love us, we can help you, and you can help us.