When I was a young girl in Damascus, when everything seemed possible, I was told going to school and completing my education would be the most valuable thing I could do.
My education would be a bracelet I could place around my wrist, and nothing and no one could take it away from me.
Growing up as a woman, an Arab woman, this started to make sense to me. However, I was yet to discover how substantial a value education and this bracelet could have on my life.
Fast forward through my childhood, to four and a half years ago, when the scent of jasmine was quickly replaced with the reek of smoke from demolished buildings, bombs, blood, death and screams.
Everything, EVERYTHING, has been taken away from us. Our dreams of a future, and even our past. Our beloved Tadmur (Palmyra) where something as magnificent as the Arch of Triumph that stood strong for 2,000 years toppled down just the other day.
In the midst of all this rubble, I found myself still standing, with nothing but a glimmer of hope and my bracelet.
It was true, come what may, nothing could take that away from me. Thanks to my education, I have managed to reach a safe place, sustain myself, get a job, a visa and learn how to help my people.
12 million Syrians have been forced from their homes, half of whom are children. One of the most devastating outcomes of this war is the birth of a generation that has not had the chance to go to school. This will have an everlasting effect on these children, and their chances of surviving this world of war they were delivered into.
I hope this generation will rebuild our country. But if we do not educate them, then we have already lost. Educating this generation is the strongest form of resistance in the face of so much defeat.
Loulou is supporting Syrian children’s education through Jusoor Syria’s campaign, Creating Futures.
It is very moving to hear that you are devoting all your enegies and ‘bracelet’ education to helping other people. I would prefer a metaphor which is less loose on your wrist! Something more a central part of who you are. You would be less vulnerable.