Rajin Alqallih (29, student Human Rights, Gender and Conflict Studies: Social Justice Perspectives)

“In Syria, I worked with Iraqi refugees. We tried to arrange a smooth passage to other countries for them, so that they could start a new life there. It was beautiful and very rewarding work! Later on I moved to Sudan to do the same job there – I always wanted to work internationally. Before my departure, the war broke out in Syria. For the first time in my life I truly understood what it meant to see the country you love so much being torn apart by war. My family still lives in Damascus. My father owned a small clothes factory but for the past three years he has not been able to reach his work place because it is not safe to travel any more. My sister used to be a music teacher and also lost her job because she could not travel safely from home to school. My parents are very warm and caring people. If you would meet them now, they would be cheerful and ask questions about your life, without mentioning they live in the middle of a war zone. Of course it is dangerous but they prefer to stay in Syria.
I recently visited Damascus, for the first time since a long time. It may sound strange but it was actually good to be back. But it is no longer the country, nor the city, which I so much hope to see back one day.
People often judge harshly on refugees and asylum seekers as if they’re all adventurers and profiteers. Believe me, most of them don’t want to be richer or better; they just want a safe home and a good future for their children, just like everyone else does.
This year I started studying at ISS. I don’t know what the future might bring, but one day I hope to be able to do something good for Syria.”


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