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I lived in Damascus, or rather in what was left of it after years of war. When I was fourteen, the army recruited me. To fight against the rebels. I was still a child, I wanted to go to school and play outside. I did not want to fight. That is why I fled. Alone.

After a long and dangerous journey through Syria I finally arrived in Turkey. I had hoped that there would be people at the border to take care of me. I was extremely weakened. But no one who even looked at me twice. After living on the streets for a week, I was approached by a man who offered me a job in a factory. It was hard work: twelve hours a day and only one short break. I was not paid, but got shelter and food. That is how I travelled through Turkey from one job to another. I was alive but this was no life. Yet I still dreamt to study and make something of my life. I held on to that, no matter how difficult it was at times.

Eventually, after two years, I managed to get out of Turkey and go to the Netherlands, where I was received with so much kindness. I have been living here for more than two years now. The Netherlands has been good for me. And that is why I want to do something for the Netherlands in return. I’ve learned the language, I’m studying and I work. I also do volunteer work in a restaurant run by people with disabilities. My dream is to become a physiotherapist. And I’m going to make that dream come true. I have experienced a lot of misery, but there is so much to live for.

I am Daniel and IAMTORO.

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