From Syria to Scotland: my inspiring story

Marwa Daher left Syria as a refugee and arrived in Scotland when she was 15. Her determination and passion to share the voices of the unheard, has led her to pursue a career of journalism. Here she shares her inspiring story.

I had mixed feelings when I put my feet on Glasgow soil. I was quite scared, nervous and at the same time worried because of the unknown future that was waiting for me, but when I saw the smiles of the people of The Scottish Government and people who have shown remarkable kindness and compassion towards Syrian refugees by opening their hearts and homes to us, all my worries turned into joy. I felt safe that my journey to education had started from that time without any fears.

I consider Scotland as my home because it embraced me and gave me the opportunity to get a good education which is the most important thing in life as I strongly believe that it’s the key for a bright life and the weapon to ignorance and hatred. 

I was 15 years old when I arrived in Glasgow City in 2014. I joined a school near my house called “Bellahouston Academy”. It was excellent with very supportive and kind teachers. I sat my exams and was glad when I passed them all with very good grades despite the difficulties I had faced. A few months later, I was delighted to receive the champion award of 2016 due to my hard work. I realised that I can achieve more since I could make a difference in a short time of my arrival to the UK. Well said is the quote “Where there’s a will, there’s a way”.

After that I went to college to finish my English level to become more fluent and therefore improve my communication skills. During this time, I decided to do something different, so I volunteered in interpreting to help non-native speakers at my college. I got a recognition award for that too. I’ve enjoyed the interpreting experience I had and so decided to do a Scottish Law course specialised in interpretation to become more professional. This helped me gain more knowledge about Scottish Law and therefore, I can work in this sector to help people with language barrier.

Art work by Marianna Marcelline

‏As a refugee who has had different experiences in life of meeting new people and learning a different culture, language, mentality and so on, I hear a lot of misconceptions about refugees and I always want to address them! I deeply thought about how I should be out there helping and addressing these issues. I was delighted with the decision I made; undertaking a Media and Journalism course because it’s the only way that I think will allow me to use my voice for the benefit of others, especially those whose voices need to be heard, and to also shed the light on our important issues and current events such as war, poverty, famine, education etc. This is so people will be up to date with the news worldwide.

I have also worked with the BBC for their project “New Scots”. Sharing the experience of my transition to Scotland, my video was published on all social media platforms. The flood of support inspired me to continue pursuing journalism as a career. In addition, I did a speech at the Scottish Parliament where I talked about the experience of living in a new society and explored the Syrian crisis to the audience. I also met with the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon. This has inspired me more to continue reaching to people to share our experiences together so we support each other. 

‏Another reason that inspired me to be in this field is because I enjoy listening to people’s stories and sufferings so that I try to address their concerns and make a difference in their lives and communities too. The more we listen to each other, the better citizens we become. I’m also very keen on representing my country, Syria, to give tribute and be the spokesperson of Syrians to support them wherever they are. I worked as a refugee ambassador to help raise awareness about a Scottish festival that celebrates diversity and the contribution of refugees and people’s experiences of starting new lives in Scotland. I was also the spokesperson for the Scottish festival and was part of their marketing campaign and featured in posters across the city to promote the festival. 

‏I’m looking forward to graduate from university with a degree of journalism so I can achieve my biggest dream; working in the media and journalism field to help everyone in need and be a voice for the voiceless.

By Marwa Daher

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