By Margrethe Vestergaard
A few weeks ago, I participated on International Dialogue and Education Camp in Lebanon. A camp arranged by Danmission, FDCD (Forum for Development, Culture and Dialogue) and the Swiss Embassy. It was an educational week where we learned tools to engage in a fruitful dialogue, and discussed techniques of how to prevent violent extremism.
Apart from that, we have got to know each other and each other’s different stories. Before arriving in Lebanon, I knew that there would be participants from all around the Middle East, among us also participants from Syria. What I knew about Syria is the wonderful memories I have of a loving people, Arabic bazaars and historical sites from visiting 5 years ago. However, what I also knew is the pictures from the news of a country destroyed and refugees struggling to get away from war and destruction.
What I know now is not a different story, but I have a much broader perspective. The Syrians whom I met at the camp added a viewpoint from inside Syria to the story. Persistent, brave and loving young people, who every day does an admirable job for people in Syria.
The mentality is to make a change
One of my new friends is Mouyad, who proudly introduces himself; 26 years old, coming from Damascus (red. Capital of Syria) and co-founder of Sanad team. An organisation that aims at creating relations between educational institutions and the job market, and thereby ensure jobs for the newly educated. It started out as an idea and now they are working on making it an NGO.
Mouyads face lights up in a smile, when he tells how a girl once stopped him on the market, asking if he could help her to find a job. He succeed finding a job for her, and as he tells, her story is a typical example of the situation in Syria. Many people emigrate and go to military, but the young people staying will like to work. The mentality is to make a change and not to get money.
You have to stay in the life
You have to continue living. The truth is that the majority of the syrian youth are leaving Syria for reasons such as finding jobs and avoiding going to the military service. This has created great challenges for people back in Syria, but for Mouyad he turned those challenges into motivations and started his own initiative to establish jobs inside of Syria. This way Mouayad believes the youth will be empowered and the future will be much better. If you stop working, life will stop; you have to stay living in Syria to make a change
Dialogue will create future hopes
In Syria, there is a great diversity, but one thing that the Syrians have in common is that the war is bad for everyone. For Mouyad dialogue will be the tool to cope with this diversity and creating contact and space for the youth, so that they can create a future in Syria, he has a great trust in them:”I believe that in every youth you have the capacity, knowledge and creativity for work. Working will distribute hope for everyone.”
By these words, I will end the story about Mouyad. He is now back in Syria continuing his admirable work to plant seeds for hope. When saying goodbye he left with the quote:”I hope to visit you in Denmark not as a refugee but as a guest.”
Photo: Amalie Ehmsen