Life-Changing Stories: Luai

I am from Syria. From the South of Idlib, in the countryside. I studied IT and engineering originally and graduated in 2013 then returned to my home village where my family lived. I had challenges continuing formal education e.g. security checks at University. The background of war made studying hard. Some of my contemporaries disappeared and this was very difficult.

I concluded formal education and was shocked to witness the impact of the war on my village. Multiple refugees, amputees and people who had been paralyzed… huge numbers of traumatic cases. This  made me want a medical job to help. I applied to charities and got two opportunities – admin work originally in local and international charities – one of them was a P&O charity. I approached a doctor in one of the charities and he supported me in my desire to support patients and learn about P&O. I became a trainee for a year.

Fatima was my teacher and apart from her, I was being trained sometimes by people without primary school education but they had skills and I wanted to learn. I missed the Ankara training and about a year in, Human Study came and this changed my life. I became a student for a year. Even though I was one of the youngest, my scientific background really helped me. After a year I became a candidate to lead the workshops which was a big jump for me. Learning, discussing and then applying was the unique Human Study methodology and I’d not seen this elsewhere. Even in my engineering studies, I’d not seen this approach to theory and practice. 

With Human Study you learn, discuss, and apply and I found this really suited me. Some technicians were a bit reluctant but they could see me doing well and alongside Fatima and others (also young) we were building our group and starting to change how the clinic operated. 

Human Study were coming into Turkey and delivering the workshops but often someone couldn’t get there. The border was closed, fighting was bad, they were needed at home etc… When that happened, I would go to Turkey and then come back into Syria and train my peers. 

We also made sure that every single session we had from human study in Turkey, we took back to Syria. Human Study gave us everything, the platform, materials, everything we needed to transfer to knowledge beyond our class. They also let other people join the online sessions who weren’t on the course, so even though there were only eight of us, sometimes there were 25 of us online, the rest weren’t taking the course, but just doing the module. Then I would take the practical assessments in Turkey, and then deliver the course, every course, again in Syria. 

It wasn’t just me, other students also did this, we worked as a team making sure that whoever was best at whichever technique, led that session. The students that learnt this way scored comparably to our own class at the end of each practical assessment. 

It wasn’t always easy doing the teaching course. I have a big family (10 brothers and sisters). I am the eldest and it was hard to study and take care of my siblings and parents. Working at the same time was an additional challenge. This meant I had lots on my mind and it made it hard. I chose to take care of my family and really wanted to support them, particularly to stay in education. It wasn’t just about financial challenges but also the backdrop made it difficult emotionally and I felt a responsibility to support the family and keep them safe. 

I didn’t have any language challenges or with the working environment –  there was always lots going on but I could cope with it. I did struggle sometimes, everyone did with the war, but I was motivated to keep going. I am now working for Human Study and have applied for a PhD in P&O and will see what is next. Staying within Human Study is my priority, it is so unique.