View this website in / Ver este sitio web en:

Mexico Welcomes a Group of Syrian Students to Complete Their Studies: Two young Syrians of 24 and 28 years old have fled from the hell of war to finish college

By Elena Reina / El País


May 4, 2017

Read in Spanish / Leer en español

June 20, 2016. Thamer Abou Mansour, 28, did not want to be the kind of refugees arriving in Europe. When everything exploded in Syria, he studied economics at Damascus and quickly realized it would never be a peaceful revolution. He fled his country in late 2012, as many young people, for fear of being conscripted and forced to kill. This week has come to Mexico, along with Hazem Sharif, 24, hopes to resume the life that was buried four years ago by the hell of war.

The two arrive in a Mexican project designed to rescue at least 30 Syrian students who left college for the urgent need to survive. Through donations, they gathered the necessary money for the ticket, a monthly pension and medical insurance.

Universities in different states of the country are in charge of enrollment. The government only facilitates student visas. They not come as refugees, since it would be a much more complex and lengthy process, they point. Habesha Project has gained promoters like the famous Mexican actor Luis Gerardo Mendez and has been supported by the Spanish philosopher Fernando Savater.

Sharif is convinced that the education of young people is the only hope for a country in ruins. "There are many children who have only known war, do not know what it is to live in peace. They can explain everything about weapons. The war takes up all their imagination," he explains from a floor that have lent him to spend a few days in the City of Mexico before going to Aguascalientes, where he will continue his studies in business management. "Some countries help Syria with weapons or soldiers, Mexico is the first country in the world to offer real help to the country, for their future."

When speaking of Mexico Sharif it refers at all times to Mexicans who have pulled him out from his ordeal as a refugee, not the Government, for whom the war and refugee crisis in Europe today is very far away. "Mexico is a country that hosted thousands of refugees who came fleeing from dictatorships in the last century and I think it is important to remember that among them there came greatest scientists and people who contributed a lot to this country," says Mexican actor Luis Gerardo Méndez with the aim of boosting donations.

The company where Abou Mansour company worked went bankrupt in 2012 and he went to Lebanon with the intention to continue with his life. His family was stayed in South of Syria. "It was not easy because life in this country is very expensive and it is difficult to get hired to be Syrian. The Lebanese are not very friendly with us," he says. Aware of the closure of European borders and the risks ran as a refugee, he sought other options. In his native country have stayed his mother, sister and two younger brothers. "The only ones the army can not pick up," he says. The rest of his brothers had to escape with him.

Sharif also left his country shortly after the war began. He did everything he could to continue studying in Iraq, but ended up helping compatriots who came in droves to the refugee camps. He had not heard of Mexico in his life, he confesses. "What made me come here is that I saw that Mexicans were the only ones who had realized that if it can train doctors, architects or scientists, there is hope for Syria," he explains.

With them, as are four Syrians who welcomed the project since its inception two years ago. Both respond quickly when asked if they plan to return. "When all has passed our duty is return and rebuild what war has left," says Abou Mansour.

Qayson Omar, 19, is still in Syria. He learns about Mexico under bombardment and dreams of becoming a journalist. "But wars destroy the dreams of young people," he concludes. The aim of the association is to gather enough to welcome him and other 25 people putting their grain of sand in a conflict that has left more than 250,000 dead and one million displaced.


Read in Spanish / Leer en español

Peacemaker Fair Trade Project Meet Our Members Donate to BPFNA Buy Resources