After being inspired as a young girl by an Outreach Volunteer, Mariam is now a medical volunteer inspiring others.
Mariam fled the war in Iraq in 2007 only to find herself facing similar danger because of the crisis in Syria. She chose volunteering to keep herself engaged and motivated. “I started volunteering out of my belief that every moment of every human’s life is sacred, and my volunteer work is what truly makes me feel alive!” Said Mariam, a 22 years old Iraqi refugee in Syria and one of UNHCR Syria’s Medical Out-Reach volunteers.
While her situation seems horrific as a refugee in a country torn by war, you only see determination, compassion and hope in the eyes of Mariam.
There are 45 Out-Reach Volunteers from 45 nationalities at UNHCR Syria most of them come from Somalia, Eritrea, South Sudan and Iraq. ORVs are well trained to provide assistance through home visits, counselling, disseminating of information on provided services, and tailoring and carrying out social and recreational activities. In 2016, the ORVs provided support tor 3986 refugees and asylum seeker inside Syria.
“As a young girl, I was motivated by the inspiring work of an Eritrean ORV called Jawahir, I saw the difference she made in people’s lives”
“As a young girl, I was motivated by the inspiring work of an Eritrean ORV called Jawahir, I saw the difference she made in people’s lives and how happy they she makes them feel, I wanted to be part of this.” Mariam approached UNHCR’s office when she was 16 years old, she was still not eligible to join, but she took part in activities and awareness sessions organized as an unofficial assistance until she was able to officially join the team in 2015.
“Mariam’s passion always shines and inspires everyone around her!” Said Lamis Hermassi, Program Associate at UNHCR Syria. “As I supervise the activities implemented by the medical ORVs, I experience first-hand their remarkable achievements on the ground and the inspiring dedication and sense of pride they display in their work.”
Not just volunteering, Marian has other dreams, she worked hard at school and was accepted in medicine school to fulfill her dream to be a Paediatrician. “I don’t wish to be a surgeon as I’d hate to cut the human body, I want to be a Paediatrician to help children grow healthy.” Said Mariam.
“I want to be a Paediatrician to help children grow healthy.”
Mariam believes that being part of the ORVs group helped her build her self-confidence and gave her a sense of belonging that made adapt to her new environment. “Our group is much diversified! This fact had presented challenges in reaching a mutual decision, but this experience itself taught me a lot about accepting others!” Said Mariam. “I learn more every day and my knowledge is continually evolving. My volunteer work helped me see life differently”