My dad worked with the UN. His job was wonderful; he had to travel to rural areas of Afghanistan to build infrastructure and schools for girls. His work was a catalyst that inspired me to work on humanitarian projects. Later, he joined the government because he wanted to serve his country. But then, when the Taliban took over, we all had to flee the country. He stayed there for a while but eventually had to be evacuated by the British army. You know, I am only 20 and I am still trying to figure out what I want my future to look like, but my greatest struggle is my fear of relaxing. My psychologist explained to me that when you experience so much trauma, your brain tends to lock away the memories from you. You think that you just forgot about them, but they are still present; you just can’t access them. That is your brain’s way of keeping us sane. But then, when you find peace of mind, your brain begins to bring back the memories to try to start processing them. I had to learn that a relaxed state for me is just a temporary transition before having to face those horrific memories. Probably, this is the reason I made it this far in my studies. I live off to-do lists. They are so long that I can never get to the end of them. I am not ready to deal with my experiences of war, my childhood and family traumas, or the years in direct provision. I remember having to meet the lawyers in Ireland, and I would have to be there to translate the things that happened to my mother. At thirteen, you shouldn’t have to translate those things. I remember my mother praying and crying all the time. Moving to Ireland without my father with four kids into a completely different culture, where we didn’t even speak the language, was extremely difficult. It affected her greatly, but she never stopped encouraging us. She used to say that life is a mountain; there is a way up and a way down, and that we were walking up the mountain while she and dad were coming down. She said we had given you everything in our power to make your uphill journey a better experience. This instilled in us resilience and hope, which were crucial in our transition and survival.”
Marwa is a member of GOAL’s NextGen Youth Network and works alongside GOAL to pursue a more sustainable resilient, and inclusive world for all.
GOAL NextGen actively works to challenge stereotypes and encourage independent thinking by building and strengthening the links between the voices and experiences of people in crises globally and young people, communities, society leaders and decision-makers in Ireland. GOAL NextGen aims to empower young people in Ireland to understand the root causes and consequences of global crises and to act in pursuit of a sustainable, resilient, and inclusive world for all.