Displacement and Disabilities: Mohammad’s Story of Success Despite the Odds

17 September 2020
Mohammad Ibrahim at the UNRWA Area Office in Aleppo to celebrate his success in the ninth-grade exams. © 2020 UNRWA Photo

Mohammad Ibrahim, 15 years-old, visited the UNRWA Area Office in Aleppo with is mother and sister to celebrate his success in the ninth-grade exams held this past July.  With a shy, but proud smile, he wrote a thank you note to his teachers at the UNRWA Mikhael Kashoor School in Aleppo. His teachers believed in him and encouraged him toward educational achievements over the past years.

“I want to thank my school, my teachers and my mentor, my school principal. They helped me to pass the exams and to challenge my hearing and visual disability, and I did it! Now, I want to continue learning because my dream is to be an architect. I love triangles and colours and love to draw. I want to learn how to draw beautifully,” Mohammad said. “I promised my father that I’d work hard and succeed before he died. I kept my promise and I will continue to pursue my studies. I love sports too, but I can’t take part because my hearing aid keeps falling out. I wish I could go to the gym every day.”

Mohammad lives in a rented apartment in Aleppo, Syria. His family, originally from Ein Ghazal, Haifa, lived in Ein el Tal camp. They had to flee from their home during the conflict, which has entered its tenth year. Mohammad’s father passed away and his mother dreams about returning to their home. “It’s not an option at the moment. There are very limited services available there, two daughters at university and two sons with disabilities,” said Mohammad’s mother, Tamadur. She further explained that Mohammad’s hearing device – a cochlear implant – is very expensive. His hearing aid is to be replaced regularly. In addition to the maintenance of his hearing aid, Mohammad is awaiting eye surgery. “We’re grateful that UNRWA is helping us replace the batteries in Mohammad’s cochlear implant. UNRWA also provides our family with food and cash assistance. Even with aid, we can hardly manage to cope at the moment. Every month is a struggle. Mohammad’s exam results are finally something makes us all happy. We all helped him, but it’s thanks to his own strength and efforts that he succeeded. He is an example to all of us, teaching us not to give up,” said Tamadur.

“I hope all the students who start the school year now will have the same experience I had. I want to particularly encourage students with disabilities to continue to go to school and learn,” said Mohammad said.

UNRWA is proud to provide assistance and support programming to thousands of Palestine refugee youth with disabilities.