From Syria; seeking a Undergraduate degree in Medicine and is enrolled at The University of Jordan.
My name is Huda Abdul Al. I am from Homs Syria.
My father was an army officer. We lived in Damascus. When the hostilities broke out we moved back to Homs, and then to the countryside. We were middle class. My mother never worked. I have two sisters and three brothers.
When the war destroyed my home and school, and when it became too dangerous to stay, we fled. We slept in the wilderness and crossed the desert until we reached Al-Azraq refugee camp. There, we were reunited with my father who left Syria six months earlier.
I was 12 years old when I arrived. We lost everything overnight. It was extremely hard for us to adapt to our new living conditions. We lived in dignity and free from want. Now we depend on the bounty of others.
My father is out of work. It is extremely difficult for refugees to find or be allowed to work in host communities. My mother worked as a kindergarten teacher for three months. She saved her extremely modest earnings to support us in the coming months. My brother who just passed his high school exam will skip college and work to help me out.
It is very difficult for anyone to imagine what life is like in a refugee camp.
We are 8 people. We live in a metal caravan that does not shield us from the ice-cold winters and the scorching hot summers. The caravan is our living quarters. In it we sit, sleep, eat and cook. We have no water or sanitation. My brother and I used to walk 60 yards each way to fetch water. Books were my world and refuge from my harsh reality. I would study for hours, using candlelight when necessary. I continued to excel at school.
Trying to explain our situation to edSeed my father said: “We thrust Huda in the worst circumstances but expect her to achieve the best results”. This is so true.
Under normal circumstances, a high school student preparing for his exams would spend his time going over his notebooks. We had to use cell phone lights and other sources to compensate for the power outages My difficult circumstances hardened my will and made me more determined to disregard what was going around me.
My biggest reward is the family I have, the friends who helped publicize my case and connect me with people who are willing to share this burden with me.
My hard work paid off. My grade average was a point and a half away from a full mark. 98.5. I am proud to have given my family and friends a reason to be proud of me too, and to have them rally to my support.
Dream and Mission Statement
I dreamt of the white coat more than the white dress since I was a child. I knew very little about this noble profession more than the uniform if its practitioners. I plan to become Syria’s premier Ophthalmologist and dream of building my own research and training hospital, where students can learn and help others.
Why fund my education?
I do not take privilege for granted. I work hard to get to where I want to be.
To me education is sacred. Many parents in Al-Azraq camp refused to send their children to school because they would fear for their safety on the trip. I volunteered as a “bus buddy” to assure the parents and make sure children attended s/chool
I am aware that we need to continue to cultivate a sense of community among camp residents. I am willing to do what is within my ability to make a difference.
I started planning for this phase of my life a while ago. I had a successful publicity campaign. UNHCR and Relief International-Jordan recognized my achievement. More than 6000 persons viewed the videos I made. I was willing to overcome all cultural barriers in an attempt to bring my story to the largest audience possible and solicit support. Success was limited.
With the help of family and friends in the US, I was able to raise 9 of the 21 thousand dollars tuition fees. I am hoping to get a scholarship based on merit eventually, which I was told is possible. I cannot risk not take the decision. We often are reminded to consider how the decisions we take change our lives, but rarely think of the impact of those we don’t. Well in this case, I decided to give it a try.
How I plan to give back after graduation?
I’m focused on getting through medical school and using my skills to lift my family out of their challenging circumstances and later help those in need.
According to UNHCR, my grade average of 98.5 on my high school exam (called Tawjihi in Jordan) was the highest in al-Azraq camp, and one of the top scores among Syrian refugees in Jordan.