The Syrians starting over in Brazil

SÃO PAULO, Brazil — Twelve-year-old Hanan Dacka listens closely as her teacher at Duque de Caxias public school in São Paulo, Brazil, assigns some group work about the Aedes aegypti mosquito and its role in transmitting the Zika virus.

Moments later, Hanan slides in between Maria Luiza and Andressa, two new friends she has made since starting in class 5B just four days ago, and the three of them get to work, chatting and laughing as they fill out the worksheet.

“I love being in Brazil,” says Hanan, a refugee from Syria, later that day, breaking into a broad smile. “I’m so happy to be here. I have my friends here and my teacher is the best.”

After four years of war and flight, Hanan, her father Khaled, mother Yusra, brother Mostafá and baby sister Yara relocated to this sprawling metropolis just over a year ago under Brazil’s humanitarian visa programme, which offers those fleeing the Syria conflict a chance to start over.

Read the rest of this story on the UNHCR website.

By Jill Langlois

Photos by Gabo Morales for UNHCR

Originally published on UNHCR Tracks on March 24, 2016.


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