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An achievement that symbolises resilience, triumph, and empowerment

Congratulations to Ruha Said, who graduates with a bachelor’s degree in Radiology – this achievement symbolises resilience, triumph, and empowerment!

Ruha's academic career exemplifies the devastating impact of war and flight on education. It took her a full NINE years to reach this point, where she had almost been already: just ONE month before graduating with her original bachelor’s degree from Damascus University in 2014, she was forced to flee.

Her story shapes SAO like no other. Raquel met her on International Women's Day, March 8th, 2016, less than 2 hours after her arrival on Lesvos. Encountering her, her 93-year-old grandmother, two sisters, and a female cousin was instrumental in SAO’s decision to focus on displaced women.

But back to Ruha: Before arriving on Lesvos, she had spent a year and a half sewing children's clothes in a factory in Turkey, 11 hours a day, 6 days a week.

Raquel says: "Shortly after I moved into an apartment with the five women, I invited Ruha to accompany me to an information meeting of the 'European Lawyers of Lesvos'. Ruha immediately organized a notebook and a pen. The image of her sitting on the chair, hungry for knowledge, absorbing and writing down everything offered to her, has stayed with me forever".

And indeed, it turned out that Ruha's dearest wish was to return to university as soon as possible. We were impressed with this determination and learned how difficult it was to reach this goal. Therefore, we created our Program “Back on Track” and started supporting Ruha and other women to enter or restart University.

Ruha didn't just fulfil her wish - no, she fought hard for it because she had to start all over again: Once in Sweden, she first had to learn the language and complete a Swedish Matura (baccalaureate), which she did in record time.

With yesterday's Bachelor Graduation of Ruha, we close our “Back on Track academic” Program to entirely focus on vocational education for our clients in Greece who need to secure their livelihood.

The "Back on Track vocational" program already consists of weekly English Conversation Sessions at the Bashira Centre on Lesvos and of informal Greek lessons at the Amina Centre in Athens, which are conducted by a professional teacher, according to the previous knowledge of our clients. These classes aim to facilitate women’s transition into public courses with qualifications according to the European Framework of Reference (A1-C1).

According to the strategy of the Board, this area is to be expanded by offering more courses to learn various skills and build up a local job-specific network that will provide our clients with employment opportunities.


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