Ever since my immigration to Canada 8 years ago, many peerless doors of opportunities became available for me. Every day, I wake up beyond thankful for what I was lucky enough to receive and for the journey I am able to live. Throughout my life here, I earned two pilot licenses, was accepted into one of the most competitive undergraduate programs in Canada, and received many scholarships within and outside of school. However, these achievements are not solely mine; they are also my family’s endless sacrifices for me. Were it not for their brave efforts to bring me to a safe land, I would have not been the person I am today. The previous generations of my lineage worked so tirelessly to ensure that I would not solely defy gravity, but soar so high till the sky became where I belonged.
This year, similar to almost all students worldwide, my school closed its doors earlier than usual. After finishing the first year of my undergraduate studies at university, I found myself with more free time than I was normally accustomed to. And since several summer involvements and plans were either canceled or put on hold, I received lots of chances to reconnect with my family overseas. My grandmother was the one I talked to the most, not only because I missed her dearly, but also because her stories are always very insightful, enjoyable, and eye-opening. In the midst of our conversations, she began telling me about the difficult refugee journey she undertook in 2013, and she described it to me in all its heart-breaking details. I immediately knew that her experience was a story that needed to be shared with the world.
My grandmother is a refugee from the Middle East and currently living in Europe. She left her home in 2013 and faced countless hardships while fleeing as a senior woman with several medical conditions. During her early years, my grandmother was a feminist ahead of her time. She became a teacher at nineteen and a lawyer sometime after, all while pursuing journalism in the topics of gender equality and social justice. Her passion for world equity trickled into my desire to pursue charity and advocacy, and this became my biggest passion in life. That is why I am involved with organizations like Girl Up, where I can be vocal and work within areas that I want to advance, such as gender equality and quality education.
The refugee crisis around the world is often a neglected one despite the unimaginably large number of people who are constantly faced with no option but to seek refuge in another land. In hopes of bringing light to their suffering and sparking conversation about their struggles, I wrote a book about my grandmother’s refugee story from her point of view, entitled My Grandmother Nadia: The Journey of a Refugee. I decided to self-publish this memoir because it was an easy and quick process to do, and I was able to share her story the exact way it was delivered to me. The memoir was released for pre-order on Amazon on June 29, 2020 and published on July 3, 2020. Within a few days, it became the #1 Hot New Release of Amazon’s kindle Women’s Biographies. My goals are to share this refugee story with the media, spread the memoir to a bigger audience within the Western world, and lengthen the book so that it can be published as a paperback version in the near future.
Since all royalties from the book are donated back to Syria, I released my memoir for an educational purpose and a charitable cause. But most importantly, I wanted to honor my grandmother as a memorable, accomplished, and resilient woman who never gave up during the struggles of life.
She is a role model for all humans around the world.