I will never lose hope: Sara’s Letter
UNRWA students are now returning back to learning after months of remote study at home due to COVID-19. The Agency is proud to support the goals of students like Sara and some 534,000 other Palestine refugee students who practice their right to education every day. UNRWA schools are implementing measures to keep students safe, including rotational in-school study, remote learning and provision of personal protective equipment and hand-sanitizer. Below is a letter from Sara, a young Palestine refugee in Syria.
My name is Sara and I am a Palestine refugee. I was born in 2006 in an "unofficial" refugee camp in the Syrian coastal city of Latakia. I love technology and computer programming. I also have a creative side – I enjoy acting, public speaking and drawing. What I love most though, is to bring joy to my friends. I really strive to understand them and to ease their worries. It warms my heart to watch a smile appear on their faces. I love going to school – sometimes so much that I don’t want to go home at the end of the school day! Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, we’ve had to stay home and continue with our studies virtually.
My number one priority is to complete my education in the fullest, because there are so many things that I want to see and do in my life. I want to defend women’s rights, to be an active citizen in my community and I want to leave a positive mark on this society. I wish that bullying would disappear and that racism and discrimination would fade away entirely. I want to see the end of conflict between states and for peace to take hold of all societies. I wish that we could all join together as one and promise to live in peace on this planet, together as humans. My teachers have really been amazing... but even with their support, some students had a hard time keeping up with their schooling – especially those who don’t have the internet or a smartphone. I’ve been exerting all my energy into keeping up with my lessons, but I do miss learning in a real classroom. I can’t wait until the doors of my school are opened again. I miss my books, my friends and my teachers. I miss my school down to the smallest details.
I was five years old when the conflict began in Syria. Luckily, nobody from my immediate surroundings has been directly harmed. In other places, many schools were destroyed, and students couldn't continue their education. There are students who should be in ninth grade and haven't finished elementary school yet.
I’m not afraid of the virus, but I’m not reckless either. In my opinion, fear cannot help us – only caution and prevention will. Thankfully, my family and I are healthy. I am worried about my community though. This pandemic has made it even harder for people to afford the food they need to survive. As Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish once wrote, “we love roses, but we love wheat more.”
Sooner or later, I do believe that things will get better. This pandemic will end, or at least stabilize. In the meantime, I will never lose hope. I know that one day, I will achieve everything I’ve dreamt of.
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