Abdulazez

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We met Abdulazez in Greece, where him and his family had lived in a refugee camp for 5 months after fleeing their home in Syria.

Abdulazez’s story is similar to the thousands of other Syrian’s living in refugees camps in Greece…his story represents that of many…but something special set him apart.

The creative, talented 19-year-old documented his entire journey through Facebook.

His positive outlook, at such a young age, has amazed us throughout, and has keep him going through the most testing of times.

His family have been waiting in Greece for over a year, to be legally relocated to a country where Abdulazez can continue his studies and they can live and work safely.

Recently they got the news they had been waiting for…they were finally being relocated to Belgium.

On finding this out, Abdulazez posted:

“Less than two weeks until I leave Greece.

Many dreams are in my mind, thinking about the many things to learn and many things to do, I can’t tell you what freedom means to me, how happy I will be when I will have freedom to go where I want and to learn and do what I want..

Hey future!

I am coming!”

The following week, he beautifully expressed himself through social media again:

“On Tuesday, I will be leaving for Belgium.

Can’t believe that this is really happening after 1 year and 2 months of being in Greece..

Greece is part of my life now. I want to say thanks to all my awesome friends who supported me while I was here.

I want to say that difficult moments introduced us to each other.

I want to say that 1 year ago my story started

to be continue..”

The day his family flew to Belgium, he shared an inspirational recap of the past year:

“Can’t believe I am finally out of Greece…

Let me go back real quick to tell you my story.

Over a year ago I arrived in Greece. We wanted to pass the borders to any country where I can continue my studies and just live safety again after years of losing it.

But borders closed and I was stuck in Greece.

I lived for 5 months in the camp and then moved to an apartment to try to get in to mainland Europe the legal way.

I waited for 9 months until I was able to finally leave.

Today I finally arrived in Belgium..

I can’t tell you how happy I am to know that I will be able to learn new languages and go back to studying maybe in few months…

I can’t tell you how happy I am to pass the difficulties of the last year and move to the next chapter

My dream was to be free to learn, free to live

And that’s the dream of many, many refugees.”

Using Facebook to share these developments allows us to feel close to those caught up in the crisis and brings a human face to the statistics we often read in the news.

At The Worldwide Tribe we believe this to be so valuable, and love the global community social media has enabled us to create.

Abdulaezez’s journey isn’t over now he has made it to his final destination.

Since arriving in Belgium he posted:

“9 days ago I arrived to Belgium! I can just see the light!

Again, I am in a refugees camp and I will be here for maybe 2 months until I have my papers.

Still, I am so happy because I started studying the language.

I started the course two days ago and I am looking forward being able to speak.

I can’t tell you how excited I am to go to university and to study more languages.

I am here to study, to learn, and to continue my life

I am not here just to do nothing. ; )

His posts have continued to be inspirational, heartwarming and full of incredible, positive insight:

“When I see people who I don’t know I look at them and smile, then I say hi, sometimes they respond and sometimes they don’t, but I don’t feel bad if they don’t respond, because at least I tried to break the walls between us.

Fear between refugees and the citizens is one of the biggest troubles we face today, we should always try to break the walls of fear and the unknown, we shouldn’t judge all because of some.

What happen is that refugees wait for citizens to say welcome

Citizens wait refugees to say hi

And fear still exists because both are waiting

Whoever you are..

if you are refugee go and say hi

if you are citizen go and say welcome

break that walls of fear, spread love”

However, the pain of what him, his family, his friends and those around him have experienced, does not disappear:

 

“Everytime I walk in the streets and I see buildings, cars and life I remember my country. I wonder how it would be if I was still there and our life just as it was, normal life like here and everywhere.

6 years of war and we have always been saying tomorrow is the day that roses will rise up again and bulliets will be buired.

6 years of hope and it still..

Syria never forgetten

We can’t be there, but there is in our hearts”

Abdulazez is a true inspiration for not just surviving the last years of his life, but excelling, learning and creating:

“The last year has been a really awesome year of friends.

Being from different countries did not stop us from being friends.

Being different colors did not stop our friendship.

**

I have met many amazing guys while I was living in the camps last year, I would love to write all their names to remember them forever.

Sometimes you can find a real nice people in a difficult time.

**

We were sharing good, bad, happy and sad moments together.

I am so thankful to have great friends like you

Love you all my friends”

Not only did he make friends from all corners of the earth, he learnt many skills too:

“Last year, I started learning photography from my small tent in Eko Station camp. I was practicing, playing around with the camera and trying out adjustments in the camp.

I used to only take photos inside the refugee camps, but last week, I decided to start taking photos of everyday life.

I feel so happy to be able to take photos of people today, to tell stories and to say I am a photographer!”

We are so proud to call Abdulazez our friend and follow him on his journey.

What an inspiration to us all.

‘My Kids’ and Me: Between Brussels and Cairo

NH, an Egyptian student in Belgium and SB OverSeas volunteer, recounts her experience of the bombing at Maalbeek metro station in Brussels, on 22nd March 2016.

16th JANUARY 2016 | The first day of activities with the kids. I share their language, their colour and more… But I chose to be here, in Brussels. How many of these kids would have made the same choice?

FEBRUARY 2016 | In spite of the cold, the beauty of the magnificent Brussels sky still amazes me. ‘My kids’, will they one day understand this beauty? Or will Brussels always remain a place of exile to them?

8th MARCH 2016 | DIY paper bags. The kids offer their finest bags to Mahmoud, their friend who has been sick for almost a month. I tell myself “When I visit Mahmoud, I will show him these bags, he will be happy.”.

22nd MARCH 2016 09:05 | I’m in the metro and in a couple of seconds we’ll arrive at Maalbeek station. The metro stops, I hear the explosion and I inhale the smoke. The death avoided me in Cairo, but is looking for me urgently in Brussels… I will be killed in the name of my faith. It’s absurd.

22nd MARCH 2016 09:30 | They make me get out of the metro by walking in the metro tunnel. Am I ‘traumatised’? Maybe… How many of ‘my kids’ have taken even more dangerous roads to get to Brussels? Did they feel the death, like I did at Maalbeek? I can understand, but do they? Why should a child see death coming?

25th MARCH 2016 | Mahmoud died. He is in a better world now, that is for sure. However, I did not offer him the bags his friends had made.

26th MARCH 2016 | We talk to ‘my kids’, we explain to them that Mahmoud has left. “Mahmoud is happy, he plays, he draws, he does not suffer anymore, he is with the angels”. We explain to them, but how to justify to them why his mum was not there with him? How to explain to them that in Pakistan, in Belgium, in Nigeria, in Syria and in Egypt, people die, when they could have instead been spreading happiness all around? I could not talk about injustice or humanity.

27th MARCH 2016 | We cancel the activities. It’s impossible to get around Brussels, too risky to move with the kids. It’s distressing. My work, my friends, my time are spent between Cairo and Brussels. Now, the pain and the fear for this country too. Was it necessary?

Hope? Sometimes this word seems insolent to me! But it remains – yes, I am sure – in the smiles of ‘my kids’ to the volunteers who do not speak the same language; in the pure emotion when they craft, draw or sing; in the sharing of tough memories; in the diversity of our colours, languages, dialects, ideas.

Yes, hope stays as long as we share a heart that simply wants to remain human.

United with Love

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Build bridges, not borders.
Choose unity, not separation.
Choose love, not fear.
Go into every situation with an open heart.

We are all connected.
We are all the same.
We are all human.
We all live on this world together and we should share it accordingly.

We must come together in support of one another.

We are one.

The Worldwide Tribe

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