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Our students' stories in northwestern Syria

In a land torn apart by more than 13 years of conflict, get to know our students from Still I Rise Academy in Ad Dana, Northwest Syria.

  • I am good at math, can draw and fix broken objects. The world is ready to be explored, Captain Muhammad aboard!

    My name is Muhammad, I like to run, but not to win.

    I run because I feel free, because when I run I see things flowing fast beside me and it helps me clear my mind. I have a special gift: I am attentive to others. After reading “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” I decided that to be really free, I have to become a sailor or the captain of a ship, so I can travel the world. But at the end of the journey, I want to go back to Syria and become an architect, to rebuild my land.

  • I believe in my dreams, in my passion for languages, in my desire to become like my mother. And I know that here, in Ma'an, I have allies working with me to make this possible.

    I am Ghazal and I am passionate about languages.

    The most valuable resource for communicating with others? Without hesitation, I answer: language! I speak English and am proud of it. When our teacher Abdulrahman calls us “girls,” I always burst out laughing, because I feel new worlds opening up before me. I love being outdoors and riding horses, it makes me feel like a princess! Despite health challenges faced as a child, I am a student who is always happy and smiling because, every morning, I look forward to entering school. This is the only place that really makes me feel at home.


  • Although we had to leave our village of Saraqeb, I know that one day we will return. My future is yet to be written, but I know that all I have to do is take aim and shoot for the basket.

    I'm Yosef and I love basketball!

    When I think of basketball, the first thing that comes to mind is break time at our school in Ma’an, Northwest Syria. It is my favorite time of the day. During break time I run to play, we chase the ball, shoot and score. Basketball is my passion, my world, my language. Even in the study of Arabic I do well. When I come home, I always look for the right words to tell my nine brothers about my day at school. I regret that they cannot study, but by telling them everything, I feel like I am taking them with me.

  • My dream is to become a doctor to help others, and despite the difficulties around me, I now keep this hope alive. Good can triumph even in the darkest moments.

    My name is Abdallah and here is my story

    I am one of the students at the School of Emergency and Rehabilitation in Northwest Syria. After a year without school, I finally had the opportunity to learn new things. My family and I were forced to leave our hometown, Saraqib, three years ago, and now we live in a camp near Al-Dana, where our school is located, I love coming here. Computer science is my favorite subject. I have a special bond with my Arabic teacher, Batoul, who makes learning fun.

Still I Rise

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