Humans of FHC: Yusra Sannah


“[What motivates me is] the fact that there are so many kids in this world who don’t have a chance to get an education like ours; [also,] how students are afraid to go to school in Syria, and their schools are being bombed, and their friends are dying in front of them. I just think about how it was very possible for me to be one of them because my dad came here to get a better education because he didn’t score very well on his twelfth-grade exam– so he couldn’t be a pharmacist like his dad wanted him to be, to take up the family store. So if not for that, I would’ve been one of them– one of the students who are currently in that situation. I just think about it, and it really refreshes my mind as to what I’m supposed to do here and how I should look at what I’m doing at school and how I should structure my future to help those people who don’t have that chance.

I think about how when I’m older, hopefully, I’ll be able to bring my relatives here to have that better life and better experience for their kids. And, how I want to be that figure to help them do that. So I need to have a strong base for that. I need to get a good education, a good job– I just really want to help them. I have my uncle, my uncle’s family, and my uncle on the other side [of the family] in Syria. They’ve had to move around a couple times because they originally lived in Idlib, and that city is under siege– bombs and whatnot. It’s a big site of war through the front between rebels and the government, and then there are other Islamist groups that get in the middle, and it’s a mess. Actually my grandmother’s home- our family home- was brought to the ground; my grandma went with it. It’s justa�� I try to take the best parts out of this and turn them into positive energy for me [by] thinking about what I can do to help them in the future because I really can’t do anything right now other than work on creating that base.

A positive, bright light at the end of the tunnel was when we were able to bring my other grandma to the U.S., and she’s actually living with us right now. It was a struggle; it took a couple of years. First, she applied for a visa to come here, and it was rejected. It was so sad– how could you reject an eighty-year-old woman? And the journey outside of Syria to go to the U.S. embassies in Lebanon– it’s a really difficult journey. It should be a four-hour drive but it turns into a thirteen-hour drive because of all the checkpoints and stopping and going the safest route. It’s ridiculous. So it was a really hard struggle for her. But, she persevered; we really wanted her to come here to be safe and to have her before she dies. So it’s really exciting that she’s here. She’s been receiving medical surgeries that are helping her right now. Like she needed a knee replacement, and she was so surprised at how professional and amazing the healthcare is here compared to Syria where it’s all pretty sketchy. I’m really happy for her. I’m really enjoying my time that I get to spend with her after school. I’m learning a lot from her.”