Feyzan Güngör | 12 May 2022
Thanks to the assistance of our donors including France, Germany, and Norway, Hibe, a Syrian university student in Gaziantep, actively participates in youth activities implemented in cooperation with UNHCR’s partner organizations, which foster a dynamic relationship between refugee and host communities.
Hibe Hamam is an 18-year-old Syrian university student in Gaziantep, living with her parents and four sisters. Due to the unrest in her country, Hibe and her family decided to flee to Turkey in 2014 to ensure a life with security and stability. While fleeing, her family also hoped to be able to continue the education of their children, which is something Hibe holds very dear to her heart.
“Education is one of the most important things a woman or girl can get.”
As a first-year biology student at Gaziantep University Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Hibe stresses the importance of getting an education as a woman. “Education is one of the most important things a woman or girl can get,” she says. “It helps to raise a girl’s awareness, supports her personality, and provides her the foundation for a good, decent life. It allows her to be independent and stand on her own two feet.” When talking about her academic studies, her passion is apparent. “The reason why I chose biology as my major is being curious about living things,” she highlights. “I love science.”
Describing her university life, Hibe explains that since she speaks Turkish quite well, she has made many Turkish friends as well as friends from other refugee communities. They meet up both on the university campus and outside to hold study sessions and socialize together. Regarding her future, Hibe shares that she wants to continue her education further in Turkey within the field of biology. She hopes to pursue a graduate degree after the completion of her undergraduate program and later become an academician. “My goal is to raise the new generations and transfer my knowledge to others,” adds Hibe. She does not doubt that with hard work and dedication, she will become a successful scientist in her field.
Outside of school, Hibe is just as active. She is a member of the Future Youth Committee organized by UNHCR’s partner, Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers and Migrants (ASAM), where she takes part in a variety of social activities including English-speaking courses and tree-planting for a more sustainable future. Hibe explains that her first experience with ASAM and the youth committee began when she attended a canoeing event, along with some other friends from the refugee and host communities, which she remembers as a fun and beautiful activity that lightened her spirits. “The committee and facilitators were very welcoming, and they encouraged us. This activity increased both my communication skills and my compatibility with other young people,” she expresses. “All these things motivated me to participate in many other activities at ASAM and to increase the effectiveness of volunteering.”
In addition to such activities, Hibe also emphasizes the support ASAM has provided to her and her family, such as counselling on education, residence permits, and social and legal support. She encourages others to participate in the committee as well as similar activities, as this provides a new perspective, opens new windows of opportunity, and expands social circles with the participation of persons from the host community as well as other refugee communities.
“Let’s learn so that we can rebuild our country in the future and become productive members of our host country.”
As for those in a similar situation, Hibe encourages them to stay strong with the support of education: “My advice to young people who want to continue their education in another country is to study, not give up, and learn the local language well. Your education allows you to be strong and to reach a regular and stable life. One of the most important factors in the development of a country is education. Let’s learn so that we can rebuild our country in the future and become productive members of our host country.”
Photo: © ASAM