From War, to Turkey, to Top Scores: The Story of a Young Syrian Refugee

After fleeing war and taking shelter in Siirt, in 2015, Dlyar Safo got a full score on the LGS, thanks to the support he got from his teachers and family, according to Anadolu Agency.

After fleeing the horrors of war in Syria, a young refugee taking shelter in neighboring Turkey has achieved remarkable successes and now has distinguished himself as one of the few students to get a perfect score on his high school entrance exam.

“When I first came to Turkey in 2015, I didn’t know Turkish, and I started my schooling as a grade 3 student in Turkey’s southeastern Siirt province,” said Dlyar Safo.

“I started focusing on the exam nearly two years ago,” he said, referring to the all-important LGS high school entrance exam, which includes questions on both math and social sciences.

At his school, the Kurtalan Selahaddin Eyyubi Imam Hatip Secondary School, he worked hard, and his teachers tried to constantly motivate him, especially when he felt down due to the pandemic.

Crediting them for his success, he explained that his teachers regularly sent him “practice questions for exam preparation via WhatsApp,” as schools were not meeting in person due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I focused on getting full marks, and I worked for that goal,” he said.

The exam was held on June 6th, and this week the National Education Ministry said that 97 students from 36 provinces answered all the questions correctly and got a full score, including Dlyar.

From Syria to Turkey

Talking about how he fled the war in Syria and took refuge in Kurtalan in Siirt, near Turkey’s borders, Safo said: “We had relatives in Kurtalan, so we migrated there from Qamishli in northeastern Syria.”

“My mother and father are tailors, so this is how we make our living,” he said, adding that he has two younger siblings too.

“I can speak four languages: Turkish, Arabic, Kurdish, and English. I’m interested in math. I love it,” he said, adding that his goal is to become an engineer.” I haven’t decided yet which high school I’ll go to. My teachers and I are searching for the best,” he stressed.

Expressing gratitude to his teachers and family for their support, he said success requires everyone to have self-confidence and belief in oneself.

“We’re all children of the same civilization,” said Faysal Polat, a senior local education official, touting Safo’s success. “We took care of our child. He learned Turkish well,” he said, adding that children are successful “when we join hands and show interest.”

“His family wanted to leave the district due to financial difficulties. We didn’t want him to leave,” Polat said, adding that many education officials and the parent-teacher association have been supporting the family for three years.

“We were aware of Safo’s abilities. We formed a team to support him. We regularly checked his work and gave him intensive support, especially during the four months leading up to the exam,” he added.

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