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Congratulations on your Graduation, Ronahi!

This summer, our Back on Track student Ronahi successfully completed her Bachelor's degree to be an Early Childhood Specialist at Mälardalens Universität in Västerås (Sweden). Read her thoughts about her way which brought her from Damascus to Turkey, to Greece and finally to Sweden to study and complete her Bachelor's degree.

When I was forced to leave Syria, I really thought that my future was over. I did not expect that my life would change upside down from being an English Literature student at the University of Damascus, to being one of millions of refugees who had to flee their homeland with a tiny backpack, leaving their loved ones behind. My only goal became to survive and to make it to a safe place alive.


I arrived in Turkey in September 2014, thinking that me and my family would finally be safe. But the struggles and difficulties started when I tried to find an apartment and a job - this was almost impossible because it was obvious that I was Syrian. With the help of some cousins, we finally managed to find a place to stay and jobs in a sewing factory for me and my sisters. We worked 11 hours a day, 6 days a week and with the salary we could barely help the family to survive.


After a year of waiting for answers from the Swedish government, my family was allowed to travel to Sweden, while me and my two sisters along with my 92-year-old grandmother got rejected because we were older than 18. We were forced to take the perilous route on a boat to Greece and then we were supposed to take the Balkan Route to get to Sweden and reunite with the rest of the family.


But luckily, plans changed after we landed on Lesvos, Greece. My journey to a new future started when I met Raquel and I received assistance by SAO. There are no words that can describe my feelings that night. It was a mix of fear, exhaustion, safety, thankfulness and somehow holiness. After many rejections from the Swedish government, I finally managed to take the plane to Sweden in 2016.


I was incredibly happy to finally be reunited with my family, thinking I had overcome all the difficulties. But it was only another start. The Swedish language and the culture were my first two challenges in Sweden, but my ultimate goal was to go back to university. I worked very hard and finished SVA 3 - which is the highest level of language - in less than one year.


I was so excited and happy about starting university again, it felt like a dream coming true. But it turned out that the academic language was another level that I was far away from. A long-kept dream was shattered. I felt really depressed and stressed all the time, so I came to the decision to change the program to something more realistically doable. As a consequence, I changed my studies twice.


Since I still do not have a secured status and have repeatedly received temporary residencies to stay in Sweden for two years, I had to make a pragmatic choice and choose a field of study that will guarantee me a job afterwards (which helps to get a permanent residency).


The program of Education Specialist enabled me to be more comfortable and more myself. Here I am: I graduated and I’m excited to start working with children.


I will always be thankful for SAO because they helped me financially, but also had an open ear to always support me with my struggles. My plan for the future is to work in the field of my studies but also to continue my studies with my regained confidence. I would like to become a Specialist Teacher for children from age 1 to 6."


We are proud of Ronahi and congratulate her with all our hearts.


Ronahis sister Ruha is also a student in our s Back on Track programme, studying to becoma a Radiology Specialist. Here you can read her portrait.


Would you like to support Ruha?

Contact us at backontrack@sao.ngo to become a study sponsor of Ruha or send us a donation with the message "Ruha, Back on Track" to our ZKB account CH11 0070 0114 8023 0667 7. Thank you!


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