Re-building bridges (1 of 2)

Zelfa Hamadieh 3In 2016, OFID sponsored five young women from Syria to complete their graduate studies at top-ranking universities in the US as part of the Jusoor Scholarship Program’s ‘100 Syrian Women, 10,000 Syrian Lives’ initiative. One of the OFID-sponsored students, Zelfa Hamadieh, shares her thoughts…

While living in the Ain Mneen suburb in Syria, Zelfa Hamadieh would travel three hours to Damascus to attend lectures. Thanks to OFID and Jusoor, in 2016 she was able to accept an offer to study for a Master’s in Environmental Engineering at New York University.

“Education for me, as a person from a poor family and a war-torn country, was the only hope for a peaceful future. Studying abroad, living with people I don’t know and speaking a language I’m not used to has taught me that I am able to take risks. This has allowed me to grow more than I could by staying home. I also learned to stop, take a deep breath and get creative in the face of challenges. The war in Syria encouraged women to challenge and break the norms, and empowered us to become increasingly influential in public life and in shaping Syria’s future. I believe that women will play a significant role in the reconstruction. We will be present and have an impact in civil society, media and government sectors. Peace cannot be achieved by guns. It needs clear, educated minds to rebuild and educate young people. Once the mind is full of knowledge, there is no room for extremist ideology.”

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