Once a refugee, always a refugee?

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Henna Deol
Member since August 14, 2017
  • 2 Posts
  • Age 20

(Ciro D’Oriano, https://www.flickr.com/photos/britishlibrary/)

(Ciro D’Oriano, https://www.flickr.com/photos/britishlibrary/)

When we think of refugees, it is hard to move past the harrowing situation they find themselves in - we focus on the immediate difficulties and turmoil in their lives. It is important to remember that people can rise above the problems in their lives and serve as an inspiration to us all. Although their lives were traumatic at one point and some challenges still remain, they go on to achieve incredible feats, and the “refugee” label seems to melt away. A few examples of these strong and brave people follow below.

Yusra Mardini

Yusra’s story is incredible - as a 19 year old escaping Syria, she swam for hours in freezing cold water to push a boat full of people stranded off the Greek coast to safety. Her determination ensured that many lives were saved, and her swimming skills led her to the 2016 Rio Olympics. Recently, she was also made a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador due her resilience and being a powerful voice on displacement. Yusra, and her amazing change in fate coupled with her own determination, has inspired many girls across the globe to start swimming, and shown people that even in desperate times, good events can emerge.

Sergey Brin

Sergey has one of the brightest minds in the world. As a co-founder of Google, our lives would not be the same without him! Alongside his family, he fled the Soviet Union at the age of 6 due to growing anti-Semitism and settled in the United States. As a young man his scientific and mathematical talents did not go unnoticed, as he was accepted into Stanford University for a PhD in computer science. The choice that Sergey and his family made to come to America at the time was frightening, but the gamble paid off for them, and as Internet users, we have benefitted to no end from Sergey’s invention.

Khaled Hosseini

A favourite author of mine, Khaled Hosseini, was born in Afghanistan and fled to the US in 1980 after seeking political asylum. Afghanistan is never far from his thoughts though, as his novels focus on the country and the plight that the people there face. Khaled was a doctor by profession before he turned to writing - a man of many talents! Writing became an outlet for him to express his thoughts and feelings which I, alongside many others can identify with.

I was very keen to highlight the achievements of these 3 amazing people, as I believe that in today’s society, refugees are portrayed unfairly and it is important to show that no matter where you come from, you can go on to do anything. Thinking about what they have achieved is a great form of self inspiration - what can you do to make a difference and reach the goals you set for yourself?

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