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Opening up a world of education

Children love to learn. If they are denied access to knowledge, we also deny them the opportunity to change their lives for the better.


FINDING THE KEY IN THE RUBBLE: Buthaina's Journey in Computer Science

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In the face of adversity, education can often seem like a luxury. Yet, for young people like Buthaina Ghassan, it is a beacon of hope, a key to unlock a brighter future. "Even when conflict scatters these keys, they're never entirely lost," Buthaina reflects.

Buthaina’s story begins in 2011 in Homs, Syria, when she was only in 7th grade. The sounds of bombs falling around her hometown marked the beginning of a challenging journey. As the conflict escalated, her parents made the difficult decision to keep her from school to ensure her safety. Eventually, the violence forced them to flee their home.

Buthaina Ghassan on campus

Life as a refugee was marked by dislocation and instability. Despite these difficulties, Buthaina clung to her education, moving from one school to another. The family found a semblance of stability in Lebanon in November 2013, where Buthaina could once again pursue a consistent education.

However, a new challenge arose in 2015: the Lebanese educational system did not recognize the Syrian curriculum. Buthaina was asked to repeat two years of school. This setback could have discouraged her, but Buthaina was determined to pursue her passion: computer science.

In addition to confronting a new curriculum, Buthaina also had to grapple with language barriers. The Syrian system uses Arabic, while the Lebanese system communicates in English or French. Yet, she persevered and aimed high, securing a scholarship at the esteemed American University of Beirut (AUB).

Reflecting on her journey at AUB, Buthaina described it as a dream come true. She plunged into the realm of computer science, securing internships at AUB’s Center for Civic Engagement and Community Service, and with WARD NGO in Tripoli. Even when the global pandemic threatened her progress, she adapted and completed both internships online.

Despite her own challenges, Buthaina also found time to give back to the community that had become her new home, participating in aid campaigns during the Beirut Blast. In 2021, she received the Qatar Scholarship from Education Above All, providing her with the opportunity to further her studies, participate in workshops, and discover more about herself and her capabilities.

Buthaina’s journey is more than a personal achievement. She has used her experiences to foster change, co-founding a community service project to empower women in tech, piloting an educational project in refugee camps, and even participating in a NASA-powered simulation training.

As she prepares for her final semester at AUB, Buthaina looks forward to opportunities in UX, UI design, or AI. Being a Qatar Scholar has opened doors for her, and she eagerly anticipates what lies ahead.


Every challenge I faced was another key found amid the rubble of conflict. Each one unlocked a new opportunity, a new chance for growth. The journey is far from over.

Buthaina Ghassan's story is a testament to the resilience and determination of young people in the face of adversity. 


"Humanity will not overcome the immense challenges we face unless we ensure that children get the quality education that equips them to play their part in the modern world." -- HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser


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