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Sara’s path to resilience

01 March 2024, Impact of Our Work

How we’re empowering children to succeed in Iraq

Children around the world face unacceptable suffering that must end. In the face of extreme violence and poverty, children’s resilience can be breathtaking. As advocates, we know that children have unique strengths in a crisis and that a sense of helplessness exacerbates trauma. 

Therefore, we try to help children recognise their capacity and give them tools to navigate their challenges. We’re honoured to support families and children, like Sara* aged nine from Syria, to thrive.  

An already difficult road

Sara was born in a refugee camp in northern Iraq in 2014. Her family had fled the bloody war in Syria a few years earlier and have been raising Sara and her siblings in constant uncertainty since.  

Sara’s family fled the bloody civil war in Syria, seeking safety and refuge in Iraq. 

Despite the obstacles she faced as a child refugee, Sara’s thirst for knowledge propelled her to become a star student in the camp’s small school. She worked hard and became known as a bright and dedicated student, beloved by her teachers. 

Tragically, Sara’s journey was interrupted by a sudden accident. A fall resulted in a serious pelvic fracture. After surgery, Sara faced nine months of slow recovery and restricted mobility. 

As the new academic year commenced, Sara’s disability meant she couldn’t attend school. Her family’s financial strain made sourcing a wheelchair impossible. But Sara's family refused to give up hope and approached the school's head teacher, who explained the situation to our team.  

A helping hand 

Seeing how determined Sara was to return to her studies, Save the Children sourced a wheelchair for her so she could achieve her goal. With newfound mobility and independence, Sara was able to resume her education with renewed determination.

Save the Children staff provided Sara with the tools and support she needed to achieve her own dream.

Sara shares her aspirations for the future, saying, "When I grow up, I want to become a doctor to help people who need treatment."  Her words reflect not only her resilience in the face of hardship, but her empathy for other people’s suffering. 

The young student is also enrolled in our additional education classes funded by Education Cannot Wait, where our teachers are helping catch Sara up on the classes she’s missed while injured. 

With determination and some support, Sara is paving her own way for a brighter future. We hope her road is free of obstacles but know her resilience and determination mean she’ll travel far, no matter the challenges she faces. 

The Multi-Year Resilience Program in Iraq is funded by Education Cannot Wait and implemented by Save the Children and its partners. 

*Name has been changed to protect identity.

Photos: Save the Children.

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