I would like to share with you a very thought-provoking and inspirational encounter that I had with a young man called Adnan Hannah Khoraki during a meal hosted by the Federation of Muslim Organisations (FMO) to welcome the Afghan community to Leicester hosted at Madani Schools.
Adnan came to this country from his home country of Syria. As most of you know, Syria has been subjected to immense difficulties during the humanitarian crisis and since the conflict in that country.
This young man gave me a perspective that I did not think was ever possible. He has in the truest sense, discovered the world and humanity through his experience and very difficult young life.
His journey of education and discovery began when he was in year 2 when the war started in his country Syria. He lost two years of education and miraculously fought death many times and escaped to Lebanon. Whilst studying in Lebanon, he was bullied and discriminated against for being a refugee; this difficult experience has instilled inner strength and developed his resilience. Adnan also attended a public school where the education was very poor, which developed him as an independent learner as he studied at home after school with the goal of trying to catch up with the education he had missed due to the war in Syria.
After 5 years, his family and he sought refuge in the UK and with no prior knowledge of English, he managed to achieve a grade 6 in English, despite only having lived in the UK for 3 years.
Adnan’s only hope in this life was to make his family’s life better. He is determined to do what it takes for as long as it takes, in order to achieve the highest grades, no matter what it will take. He believed that this will open a field of opportunities for him and will enable him to make a difference when he pursues his career in engineering.
Mathematics is a particular strength of Adnan and has intrigued him for many years; he has never met a problem and left it without a solution. In year 10, he completed the UKMT Maths challenge and managed to get a bronze medal. In addition to this, in year 9, he represented his school Crown Hills in the Rotary challenge for design, where he competed with 12 other schools in Leicester, and achieved third place. When asked why he likes Mathematics, he realised that it is all down to his personality as he enjoy the challenge of questions with unequivocal answers.
Moreover, he has also completed a few electronics projects, such as creating a RFID door lock and a home automation system.
In year 9, he achieved a grade 9 in Arabic. In addition to that he has already learnt most of the basics about calculus and developed a wide range of knowledge about the things he is taught about in college.
Although he is still unsure of the career, he is interested in Computer Science, and confident that his experience in Electronics, Physics and Further Maths will help him determine his future career.
He believes that studying at college will equip him with even greater skills and knowledge.
This young 16-year-old boy is a lesson to us that we have to encounter problems in the course of our existence and the challenge for us is to deal with the problems and to develop our resilience. Regardless of our faith colour,creed or any other beliefs be their political or personal, this boy’s journey is evidence that in any situation with hope, sincerity and hard work we can overcome adversity as individuals and as humanity.