“I did not choose Sweden, Sweden chose me”

My name is Wafaa and is 55 years old. I am from Syria, is married and has two boys and one girl. My life in Syria was filled with cultural meetings with friends. We lived a stable life and were socially involved with my husband.

My husband was a college teacher and I struggled a lot until I graduated from college and became a college teacher while I raised three children. After our stable life and the development we reached, everything was ruined and I had to fly from Syria. It was the hardest time in my life. The reason I left Syria was the safety against me and my family. We saw missiles constantly,

it happened several times that we ate and heard missiles, so we had to interrupt and run out. It happened several times that we had to bring along the most important things we had, such as our passports and important documents and flights from home , I could not go back to my home because of the war. The mosques repeatedly called to go to the hospital and donate blood, I began to think that there may be one of us in the hospital and need blood. These were the reasons that made me leave Syria, which is my homeland, as I never thought the thought of leaving.

The hardest thing for me was I left Syria when my parents were in the hospital, but I had no choice. The hardest choice is that you choose between your life and to fly, leave people who are close to the heart and who need you. But I also have to save my family, the family also needs me. During the same time, I and my husband received an invitation to a conference, and then we decided to leave Syria. What felt easier to come to Sweden was that my brother and his family came to Malmö one week before us. One week after I arrived in Sweden my mother died and two days later my father died. One of my friends I learned in Sweden helped me contact Malmö City Library, and then I started working on a project that strengthens the Arabic language for newly arrived children.
I can not think of tomorrow, I live in the present. I do not know what will happen tomorrow, I do not know if I can go back to Syria. But at the moment, I work and started building my life again from scratch, like a person who lives in Sweden. I did not choose Sweden, Sweden chose me.

What I miss most is my students and to stand and teach.
I miss my relatives, I miss the family reunited. We miss this most in Sweden, the family gathered together. There are large families who fled together and there they can gather. I wish I can go back to Syria and work with the students again and build learning again after the war and all the destruction. I also miss my house, my neighbors, the children’s voice on the farm and their games. Two children I felt died in the war of a missile.

A Million Stories Sweden: Nizar Keblawi, Nina Olsson, Sara Sarabi, Malin Gillberg, Daniel Björklund, Mats Nordström.

A Million Stories Sweden volunteers: Fariborz Ghadir, Mohamad Mohsin, Yazan Saad, Tarek Aloudallah, Dalia Saleem, Yara Ali, Ahmad Younes, Chaimae Hamri.

In association with



Dublin Core: Language: swe Subject: asylum, refugees, A Million Stories, Sweden