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September 18, 2021

Nujeen: one girl’s journey from war-torn Syria in a wheelchair

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The Girl from Aleppo: Nujeen's Escape from War to Freedom. Book by Nujeen Mustafa with Christina Lamb
The Girl from Aleppo: Nujeen’s Escape from War to Freedom. Book by Nujeen Mustafa with Christina Lamb.

‘The story of Nujeen, amazing young woman and Syrian refugee, reminds the world that refugees, just like others, have aspirations and dreams for peace, education and a better society. Nujeen inspires me to dream without limits.’ – Malala Yousafzai

 

Nujeen Mustafa has cerebral palsy. This did not stop her travelling, with her sister, 4,000 miles from Syria to Hungary in a wheelchair.

Denied access to an education in Syria because of her disability, she taught herself English by watching US soap operas. In 2014 her home town of Kobane was at the centre of fierce fighting between Isis militants and US-backed Kurdish forces, forcing her family to flee first across the border into Turkey and then further into Europe, where they currently live, in Germany.

She tells her story in a powerful memoir Nujeen, co-written by prize-winning correspondent Christina Lamb, bestselling co-author of I Am Malala. Like Malala  Yousafszai, Nujeen has been forced to flee her native country and had her right to an education compromised. This is the story of our times told through one remarkable girl.

A strong, extraordinary voice, Nujeen tells us what it’s really like to be a refugee, to have grown up through war and left a beloved homeland to become dependent on others. It tells how the Syrian war has destroyed a proud nation and torn families apart in the face of international indifference by leaders scarred by previous interventions, and the incredible bravery of a person determined to keep smiling.

Christina Lamb

Author/journalist Christina Lamb. Photo Caroline Forbes
Author/journalist Christina Lamb. Photo Caroline Forbes

Christina Lamb is a multi award-winning journalist for the UK Sunday Times. She has acted as Washington bureau chief for the paper and in 2009 she was awarded the prestigious Prix Bayeux Calvados for her reporting from Afghanistan.

She won the Foreign Press Association Award for Story of the Year in 2007, and was also named Foreign Correspondent of the Year in the British Press Awards.

She is the author of the best-selling The Africa House, Waiting for Allah, The Sewing Circles of Herat, Small Wars Permitting and I Am Malala, co-authored with Malala Yousafzai.

 

• Christina Lamb is taking part in numerous sessions at Byron Writers Festival including a one-one-one conversation with Jennifer Byrne (Saturday August 5), The State of the World with Roger Cohen, Mei Fong and Kerrie O’Brien and Ben Knight (Friday August 4) and Foreign Correspondents Club with Roger Cohen, John Lyons and Ben Knight (Saturday August 5).

• For more on Byron Writers Festival visit byronwritersfestival.com


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