A Dream that Found the Light

My mom dreamed of being an engineer. She worked hard and was always top of her class.

But her dream came to an end when the Lebanese civil war broke out. Suddenly she lived in a world of chaos. Everyone was leaving their homes, losing their belongings, and having to find new ways and places to survive.

Education was no longer available and like so many others my mom let her dream go.

She raised a family of five kids, and wanted her dreams to grow with each one of us. Education was vital to success in her eyes and she encouraged each one of us to follow our dreams. She and my dad provided us with everything we needed, everything that she had not had.

And she sowed that dream in me, her dream for education. She raised me so that I couldn’t stand leaving a child with no education. I wanted to help, I wanted to teach, no, better, I wanted to educate and raise the next generation.

For that reason, I went into the field of education, majoring in English Language. This didn’t just mean getting to know the rules of grammar or building a huge lexicon, it led me to find out about every change in history that’s had its effect on education and especially on languages. And as you study history you realise that the educators are the secret soldiers who maintain the sanity of the people, and so here I am on the road to becoming so I can help one generation after the other grasp their dreams.

The greatest reward I can get for anything I achieve is the pride in my mom’s eyes as she sees me reach my dreams.

That’s where my drive towards education came from, and for that reason I couldn’t just stop there, content with getting my own education. I felt compelled to help provide others with that tool, so that no one is left behind deprived of his or her basic right to a proper education.

My mom was deprived of her education due to war. A generation on, and we are witnessing the same problem again here in Lebanon, as we see hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugee children struggling to access education after leaving their country. Our greatest challenge is overcoming wars in the name of revolutions and the mass suffering and deprivation they cause.

We simply cannot stand there immobile, we are all part of this cause and we all need to act.

Farah Al Hajj is a Global Youth Ambassador and education campaigner in Lebanon.

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