My name is Nashwan, and I am a refugee from Syria as well as a Nothing But Nets champion.
Unfortunately, during the last nine years, my home country of Syria has suffered an extraordinary war. Most of the country resources have been depleted, and most of infrastructures and public properties have been demolished.
Though the previous mentioned loss cannot be tolerated, it was insignificant compared to Syria's biggest loss: millions of Syrians who had to flee the country to save their lives and families, and to search for a living.
I was one of those millions who left with no choice other than leaving everything behind, dreaming of a new start.
Though I had been born in a small rural city in the east of Syria, my family managed to raise me and offer me the best available education in that country. This showed me since my first years that hard work and commitment will always open doors for you, and help you moving ahead regardless from where you are starting.
Moving to Damascus to continue my education made my ties with my home city even stronger, as I saw how much I can give back to my community by empowering less fortunate people and creating positive change.
When I arrived the states, all I had was my history: accumulated through 7000 years, hundreds of civilizations, and 3 religions, which created a unique cultural mix you can see in my life’s smallest details, especially in fashion, food, and spirituality.
In Syria, you can hardly find a young Syrian man or woman who has ever voted freely before, simply because they know that their votes have no value, and they will not have the right to choose who will represent them and serve them at any level. Therefore, with such low community engagement and hopeless desire for change, you can understand why things are so conflicted there.
However, despite being stuck between bureaucratic procedures and anti-immigrant policies, I found that I can create a positive change here through dedicating myself to serve my values and reminding everyone that each human has a purpose in this life.
As a global health advocate, and a member of Junior Chamber International, I was first introduced to Nothing But Nets. I was impressed by their work to advance the fight against malaria, a disease affecting not only the health of millions of people, but also their livelihoods and economic development and welfare in addition to their countries’ political stability.
I joined Nothing But Nets because I religiously and spiritually believe that whoever saves one life saves the world entire. On this globe, we came from enormously different cultural, educational, and religious backgrounds, but at the end of the day, we still share the same globe, and share equal responsibilities and duties in helping each other. Realizing these simple facts will help promote mutual understanding, friendship, co-operation and lasting peace amongst all peoples.
2019 is a great year for me so far. I started a malaria prevention initiative in Burkina Faso, and I am preparing to launch a global gender equality initiative by the end of this year.
This World Refugee Day, I dream that I will get the chance to see my mother, father, in addition to 5 nephews and nieces who I never met before. I also dream that one day, I will be a part of a country’s dream of a future where all citizens are equal in front of laws, and have fair access to education, healthcare, and jobs.
Make a donation to protect refugees from deadly malaria here.