Superior General, Manager
When the body of Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi washed up on the shore of Turkey, David Cameron decided that Britain would play its part in easing the humanitarian crisis of the refugees. He announced that Britain would re-settle up to 20,000 refugees. More than 2000 miles away in Jordan, Muzoon Almellehan was unaware of Cameron’s act of mercy. In a tent far away from her friends, she has busy studying for the upcoming national examinations. Each time she felt ready to take the tests, her family moved.
They had had to flee from the embattled Syrian city of Daraa in the middle of the night. Carrying only the bare essentials, they crossed the border in to Jordan where they settled in Zaatari, the world’s largest refugee camp. When they unpacked, Muzoon’s father realized why Muzoon’s bag had been so heavy. She had carried most of her books. The camp had a school and Muzoon continued her education there.
Many families in the camp had lost all hope. Unable to think of a life beyond the camp, they were no longer interested in sending their daughters to school. Rising against this tide of despair, Muzoon urged families never to stop educating their children, especially girls. Eighteen months passed. Just as Muzoon adjusted to her new school, the family was told to move to another refugee camp at Azraq. It seemed all was lost but it was not so. Muzoon’s passionate advocacy of education had drawn the attention of the UN Refugee Agency and representatives met Muzoon’s father with proposals of resettlement in Canada and Sweden.
Little did Muzoon’s father know that Muzoon was already in negotiations to relocate to Britain, the home of Shakespeare. She had been studying Measure for Measure in English. Two and half months after Cameron’s announcement, the family arrived in U K. They were given refugee status on arrival with five-year visas but Muzoon has no plans of settling in Britain. She hopes to return to her homeland after getting a degree and training as a journalist. I want to go back to rebuild Syria. It will need doctors, engineers, lawyers and journalists to make this happen… With good quality education, we can do anything.
Dear teachers and students much progress has been achieved in the past decades but each day brings greater challenges. We will have to combat global terrorism, adapt to climate change, respond to the refugee crisis and other looming issues. The answers to these pressing questions will have to come from the educated. The next time you enter a classroom, consider yourself to be among the privileged few in the world to receive an education. Pause also to reflect on how you can use that education to change the lives of others and that of your country. May the angels inspire you to learn all that is useful and may God grant you the wisdom and the opportunity to use your education in the service of all.
Rev. Mother Mary Frances
Superior General, Manager