September 2009, Syria
She is 15 years old, yet her hazel colored eyes reflect wisdom and integrity, something that one may think only comes with age but in her seems to be natural. Her beautiful looks are only second to her bright mind; and her smile is just as reassuring as her wit. 'Ola 'Amura is a Palestinian girl with a great commitment to her future and that of her family and the society. That’s why she always tries her best at everything, especially at school, and generally succeeds.
"I believe all of us (as children) have to make an effort to excel ourselves in school and in life, because beyond the good marks and the family satisfactions that come along, it is only in this way that we’ll help improve the society we are part of," says 'Ola.
During the 2009 basic education set exam, organized by the Syrian Ministry of Education, 'Ola scored a mark of 310 (out of 310 possible marks). She was the only Palestinian student to get a full mark in the test, which is mandatory for all students wishing to continue the path towards higher education.
Now, with the beginning of the new school term and thanks to her outstanding results, 'Ola is able to continue her studying and, eventually, fulfilling her dream of becoming a professional information technology engineer. She is enrolled in 10th grade at the al-Awael private school in Damascus, after completing the nine-year basic education programme provided by UNRWA at the Agency’s Salameh School in Khan Eshieh Camp.
"I’m really proud of her not just because she is a very dedicated student and has always had exceptional performances, both in our house and in school, but above all because she tries to set the best example for her siblings," affirms Majed 'Amura, the smiling father of 'Ola, who happens to be an UNRWA teacher himself, and has been an inspiration for his daughter’s great achievements.
'Ola’s case is undoubtedly outstanding, an excellent student, with good knowledge of English and French, who knows by heart 16 sections of the Koran; a dedicated daughter and caring sister, but, most importantly, a great Palestinian and an exemplary human being. 'Ola is marking her way up to the top.
Text and photos by Diego Gomez-Pickering