Personal Letter

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Mums and Dads, Aunts and Uncles,

I would like to start this letter with a great thought 

It’s amazing how a little tomorrow can make up for a whole lot of yesterday
— John Guare, Author and Playwright

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.

Thank you,

Aws Jubair

Real generosity towards the future lies in giving all to the present
— Albert Camus

Aws Kareem: A Case for Canada

Over the last few months, I have met few people as active within the refugee community as Aws. Despite his heavy school schedule and caring for his family, he manages to find time to volunteer at SPI and Humanwire to find finances for struggling families. Aws is one of the most promising young men I have met - across the world. He claims that it is an Iraqi thing, but I believe it is more a deep curiosity within him that keeps his nose deep in a book and his mind in the clouds. 

I think the most interesting, and best description of his personality, is how he learnt his almost flawless english from chatting with American soldiers. His openness to the soldiers and some of the culture they brought - particularly the music - has gotten him in a lot of trouble. This hasn't proken his stride in the least, if anything it strengthens his resolve. An idealist to say the least, Aws is a very vocal man who does not back down from what he knows to be right. 

Because of Aws' background, process and potential, Genesus is working with a Canadian church to get group sponsorship and refugee status. We will start a fund raising campaign shortly, but are now working out the details of the documents. We are very excited to have the opportunity to change some one's life so profoundly, and could not be happier that it is Aws Kareem.