He is a father, a refugee, and a teacher.

Photo by Ezra Millstein for Mercy Corps

Ahmad, a Syrian refugee in Jordan had never worked in education. He had worked in cattle trade all his life — this all changed when destruction hit his home and members of his family were killed.

That is when he decided to leave Syria.

“It was impossible to find security — the airstrikes left no woman, child, animal, or even tree safe. Bombs fell on anything. When part of my home was destroyed, I watched from afar as a truck came and carried away my remaining furniture.”
“I left Syria psychologically destroyed, and my financial situation was bad. I slept in the open on the Syrian border for 10 days until Jordan received us. They were good and kind. But I had never slept in a tent or even seen one assembled. With some people’s help, we built it on farmland and lived there among several other families.”
“In Syria, one of my hobbies was reading and drawing posters. I love reading and writing and I love being with children‎. When I sit with children, I feel like I am living in a different world. It’s like living a dream because children are pure.”

Ahmad helped open a small school to teach children in his refugee settlement. He said it started as a small idea.‎

“When we started, there wasn’t even furniture. Students sat on stones.”
“We are close enough to the border that when I hear the bombs, particularly at night, I imagine I am there inside the explosions. Fortunately, here in the school, a great part of the stress and internal tension I have fades away. This school and these children are my safe haven. I feel like I am living in another world when I am here.”
“Everyday I try to think of new ideas. One day I asked the children to draw a picture of flowers, trees, or anything. Each one of them drew a picture from their imagination, and my prize to them was‎ to ‎‎hang them on the school walls. Everyone who comes here tells me they feel relaxed. My wish is to transfer my feelings to everyone who steps into this place.”
“We have something here that cannot be found elsewhere.”

— Story told to Scott Latta of Mercy Corps in an interview with Ahmad

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This is a story from GlobalGiving’s Voices from the Crowd series.