“Being a refugee is not a choice. Our choice is to risk death or die at home trying to escape.” — Yusra Mardini
Yusra Mardini (born in 1998) is a Syrian swimmer, who was a member of the Refugee Olympic Team at the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Less than two years ago, 16 year-old Yusra fled war-torn Syria with her sister. They were among the massive wave of refugees that arrived in Greece by boat. Thier small boat, dangerously carrying twenty people, nearly capsized. Because they were the only swimmers on board—Yusra, her sister, and another woman got into the water, trying to push the boat to shore. They were in the water for three hours and thought they would surely die. They survived the trip, but had a hard, dangerous journey ahead through Europe to Germany. The prominence of her becoming an Olympian has allowed her to share her story with the world and shed light on the bravery (and plight) of the Syrian refugees. She is a bright example of overcoming the worst of circumstances with one’s dreams intact.