Dear Brothers and Sisters, Mums and Dads, Aunts and Uncles,
I would like to start this letter with a great thought
This is truly a profound thought, to leave my past and focus on the future.
I can not describe the lift in my spirits to know there are friends I have never met that are willing to just hear my troubles. My desire is to only speak from my heart and let them flow to yours. With that, this is my story.
I have lived through war. Now am living in refuge.Yet the greatest lesson is to see the potential in each human being. This potential, tapped or untapped, needs a stable foundation. A foundation of education, skills and resources to return and help others in this same horrible situation. Moving to Canada is the key step to fulfilling my dream of fighting for human rights and broken communities on a professional level.
In Baghdad, the basic human rights of my family and me were violated not because of what we did, because of who we were. We fled to Turkey hoping things would improve for us, but they have not, and in many ways they have gotten worse. I have lost my freedom to travel - even domestically - my freedom to work and most importantly my freedom to pursue a meaningful future.
One of my greatest pleasures while living in Turkey was the day that I delivered the news to an 18 year old girl that she would be able to attend university. Through my work with an NGO, and my coordinating efforts her dream became reality. That was the day that I knew what I wanted to do with my life.
That is the one positive thing that I have gained from the experiences of war and as a refugee: a purpose. My purpose and passion in life, given the opportunity, is to help others in the same situation as my family and myself. In Turkey, I have already taken it upon myself to aid others facing similar plights; working with the Turkish Red Crescent and NGOs(Small Projects Istanbul, HumanWire) assisting the Syrian population in Istanbul. My potential to help others, however, will never flourish here in Turkey. In order to advance the human rights of others, I need to have complete human rights myself.
Canada is a leader in the international arena of human rights. It is the perfect place for me to reach my full potential. For me, a huge part of unlocking that potential is education. Last year I began attending a Canadian High School in Istanbul (Simcoe Academy). It would be a natural step to continue my education at a university in Canada. My plan is to attain an undergraduate degree in political science/international studies in the realm of human rights before pursuing a masters in international law. I am extremely excited by the prospect of fulfilling this dream in one of the world class programs offered by Canadian universities.
After graduation, my intention is to work with Canadian and international NGOs in order to champion human rights around the world. Specifically, my home country of Iraq will need brave advocates and activists to put the pieces of our society back together. I would love to use the skills that I gain in Canada to help marginalised populations such as women and religious minorities to organise and realise their fundamental rights.
On top of the obvious opportunities that the country would offer me, I am also very attracted to the way of life in Canada. Reading through my Canadian textbooks and talking to one of my best friends, living in Toronto, has given me insight into the culture. I am delighted to find that many of my own values, from environmental protection to general friendliness, are reflected in Canadian society.
One day, a few years ago my friend was telling me about his life in Toronto. He told me that people in Canada accept and celebrate people from different ethnicities, backgrounds and religions. That is what attracted me to Canada in the first place. It is what I’ve been missing my whole life. A society that would accept me even though I am different. For me that is so inspiring. It should be like that everywhere but it is not. I need to go to Canada and gain the tools and connections to help make other places understand this same beauty.
Although I am still deeply connected to the Middle East, I would be honored to call Canada my home.