A teenage Syrian refugee won a prestigious international prize on Monday for building a school and providing an education to hundreds of children who fled to Lebanon to escape the conflict.
Mohamad Al-Jounde made a strong plea for the world to give refugees fleeing his country’s war an opportunity, as he received the prestigious International Children’s Peace Prize in The Hague.
“We just want people to give us a chance to prove ourselves…My message to people who don’t want refugees to be there is we didn’t want to come either. But that’s what war does,” Jounde, who now lives in Sweden with his mother and father, told AFP.
“Start dealing with us as normal people, not as refugees or immigrants,” he said.
Jounde was presented the prize by Malala Yousafzai who won the prize in 2013 for advocating girls’ rights to education. The award was launched in 2005 by the Dutch Kids Rights Foundation.
“As Mohamad knows, Syria’s future depends on its children – and their future depends on education,” Yousafzai said at the award ceremony in The Hague, Netherlands.
Despite the suffering they have endured, Mohammed has managed with his family to enable many children to go to school, the Pakistani activist said, adding that she was proud to support Mohamed’s efforts.
The energetic 16-year-old boy, along with his family, built a school for 200 refugee children in a refugee camp in Lebanon where he taught maths, English and his passion, photography. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)