SULEIMAN AND MOHAMAD
CITY OF ORIGIN: ALEPPO, SYRIA
LENGTH OF DISPLACEMENT: 2 YEARS
OUR FAMILY: MOHAMAD (15), SULEIMAN (13)
OUR STORY (APRIL 2015): We have lived in Reyhanli for two years as refugees. We have not been to school in over two years. Before the Karam Team visited our home in April 2015, Mohamad used to work in a mechanic shop. Suleiman used to work in a gas station. We live with our parents and younger sister in a basement crawl space, which is so unfit for habitation, we don't even pay rent! Our mother does her best to keep the windowless, concrete cell clean and tidy. Our parents were ecstatic that we could quit our jobs and will finally have the chance to attend school once again. We are so happy to be part of the the first group to join Karam's sponsorship program for refugee kids like us who are victims of child labor.
UPDATE - SEPTEMBER 2015: We have been attending the Salam School since April and are so happy to be building our futures.
UPDATE - MARCH 2016: "We both really like going to school. We have really nice teachers. They are so patient and they are really brilliant. Suleiman really likes math. He enjoys solving problems and answering questions. I really like Arabic. I enjoy reading and writing. I also like history, my teacher makes the material very fun. We both wake up and get ourselves ready for school. Thank you for your support!" - Mohamad
UPDATE - JUNE 2016: "We love school so much! Our favorite subject is computer science; we spend so much time in the lab that our mom calls school our second home! We’ve both improved in our reading and writing and we both study so hard. Our teachers are happy with us in the classroom because we’re well behaved." - Mohamad + Suleiman
UPDATE - SEPTEMBER 2016: "This summer, we both took summer school in order to prepare ourselves for the qualifying exams that we will do this coming year; Mohammad went to Istanbul on a Scouts field trip and I wish I could have gone. Maybe when I am his age I will be able to go. We are both looking forward to going back to school in order to see our friends, who we missed dearly." - Mohammad + Suleiman
UPDATE - JANUARY 2017: "This semester was so cool! I passed my exams and moved on to the 10th grade and there was a big celebration for us at school when our scores were released. Suleiman passed too, and he is going on to the 9th grade. Because of how well we are doing and how seriously we take our favorite classes (History and Arabic for me, Math for Suleiman), my mom always jokes that she doesn't recognize us anymore, but we know that she is very proud of us, especially after we did really well on our exams. Our best friends are our cousins who we can count on for anything. We see them almost every day to study and play with each other." -Love, Mohammad
UPDATE - APRIL 2017: "At school, I've been taking music lessons. I love to sing! My brother, has been taking cooking classes and he always talks about how it's his favorite class ever. Meanwhile, Suleiman is turning into a computer whiz! My brother, as always, is obsessed with soccer and he plays it all the time with his friends. We all did very well in our classes, and our teacher has been telling our mom that we are great students. We are extra happy because we've made new friends in our classes and in our neighborhood, too!"
UPDATE - JANUARY 2018: “I’ve made new friends at school, my grades in the exams were very good. Usually our mom helps us all in our studies, and sometime my brother Suleiman helps me in maths. We all have learnt Turkish very well and it is no longer an obstacle for us. We go to Karam Lab and Turkish courses in our free time.” – Hamza.
UPDATE - MAY 2018: “This year we got a gift for our mom on mother's’ day which she really liked. Every morning Hamza and I walk to school together and we eat ice-cream on the way, while Mohammad and Suleiman go by bus. I love my parents so much, especially my mom because she is very caring, she wakes us up to school and prepares us something to eat. My favorite football team is FC Barcelona, and my favorite food is Tabooleh.” – Ayah.
UPDATE- AUGUST 2018: “I encountered some difficulties in my science class last year. I wish my teacher had explained the lessons I didn’t understand in more details. My favorite animal is the elephants because it’s so grand. Suleiman loves police dogs. During the World Cup, I cheered for Brazil and France. In my opinion, they are the strongest teams. I’m constantly thinking about university and how I want to become an electrical engineer. Suleiman wants to become a math teacher. During summer vacation, I attended so many courses and workshops at Karam House. Currently, I’m attending the YOS prep course and the photography workshop. I’m working on a project where the camera is stabilized on the shoulder while you climb a mountain. My favorite memory this summer is when Karam took us to Gaziantep. On this trip, I met new people and felt hope and optimism.” – Mohammad.
UPDATE - DECEMBER 2018: “School is going well, but the administration can be very strict. The teachers and administrations are Turkish, but the students are Syrian. History class can be particularly difficult because it’s all in Turkish. One of my favorites moments was when my Math teacher gave us a problem to solve, and, despite many students getting the wrong answer, I solved it correctly! I eventually see myself becoming an engineer or lawyer and pray for Syria to return to its old ways so that we can all go back.” - Suleiman
UPDATE - APRIL 2019: “During the mid-year break, I attended YOS classes while Suleiman attended a workshop at Karam House. One time I walked into my class, and the teacher was lecturing about two points he had written on the board. He asked me a question about those points, and I answered correctly! My friend started clapping, which made me feel so strong. The two friends I enjoy hanging out with the most are Mohammed and Ahmed.” - Mohamad
UPDATE - OCTOBER 2019: “I graduated from 9th grade and I’m heading to 10th grade! I did really well in Turkish class, but science and history were a bit tough. Mohamad finished high school and he is applying to universities after doing well on the YOS exam. I want to go to university like him, as well! Baba is getting better from his injury and Mama just joined the first aid service!” — Suleiman
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