A Syrian’s Success in Egypt
Guest blogger Mostafa Shahat writes about the success story of Syrian Sami Al-Ahmad.
The Syrian civil war started in 2011, the same year the Arab spring started. But not all the revolutions were successful – some turned to civil war and divided the country. This is what happened in Syria. The majority of Syrian youth have left their country to continue their studies or search for opportunities in other Arab countries. Some of them left their dreams back home, and others still believe that whatever the circumstances, they should keep moving forward.
Sami Al-Ahmad moved to Cairo in 2012 after the Syrian civil war started. He had been studying dentistry in Syria and was part of NGOs, youth clubs and activities. When he moved to Cairo, he had to adjust to a whole new environment. “Back home, when I was a child, I was always active doing volunteer work. When I moved to Cairo to continue my dentistry study, I felt that I was starting from the beginning.”
In Egypt, Sami ended up founding the Khtawa Foundation, which supports Syrian students who want to register in Egyptian universities. The foundation offers career development workshops and awareness sessions to inform Syrian students about the Egyptian education system.
“There was not system in place to register in any university,” says Sami. “The admission process was totally different than what I was used to. I needed to know someone who has been in the same situation, what kind of documents I needed and how to apply.”
Sami is currently senior student at Modern Science and Arts University studying density. He started the Khatwa foundation in July 2013, and they now have offices in Cairo and Alexandria. Sami and his eleven colleagues helped more than 300 Syrian students register in Egyptian universities to pursue their bachelor studies.
The foundation also conducted almost 100 sessions on a weekly basis to develop the students’ skills, from CV Writing to interview skills. In 2014, they helped almost 900 Syrian students to register in Egyptian universities, and in 2015, almost 2,100.
To thank the Egyptian universities that were very supportive to the Syrian students, Sami has organised two big events, which have seen the attendance of hundreds of students. Watch the events at Ain Sham University and Mansoura University.
Sami spoke about his personal success story at Falling Wall Lab in Cairo in June 2014. He won third place in Jusoor entrepreneurship competition and has been awarded with $15,000.
Despite the circumstances and the challenges that Sami faced when he moved to Egypt, he used his leadership skills and passion, and he never have up. He is currently planning to start a new activity that helps Syrian students apply for scholarships.
Article submitted by Mostafa Shahat, volunteer responsible for Arabic guest bloggers in the MENA region and an African Egyptian entrepreneur who has established one of the most successful youth communities in Egypt, Goal Oriented Learners. Mostafa has studied social entrepreneurship in the USA and is currently the Middle East & North Africa representative at StudySearch (Nigeria) and the Egypt representative for All Events in City (India). Mostafa is also a reporter at Nudge Sustainability Hub. Email him at [email protected].
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