To search again for what I really wanted

I was in my 3rd year at university majoring in Law when I left Syria in 2012. I used to work in a fabrics factory in Aleppo during the summer, but when the war became intense, I had to leave Aleppo to work in Beirut. I started working as a construction worker and in cleaning services. When I returned to Aleppo, I was shocked how life changed: everything was becoming so expensive, no electricity, my brothers and sisters used portable torchlights on their foreheads to be able to study, and you wake up in the middle of the night frightened by the sound of the bombs.  I stayed there for around one month, but I didn’t continue my exams and I failed in them. Afterwards it was difficult for me to return to Syria, because I became eligible for the mandatory military service since I dropped off my studies.

When I came back to Beirut, I had to start all over again. Studying law in Lebanon was pointless since Lebanese law does not allow me to work as a lawyer. I got employed as a supervisor in a cleaning company and then I applied for an acting workshop and I got accepted then I received a grant from Action for Hope to study Radio TV and film at the LIU (Lebanese International University).

I joined the Action for Hope theatre group and started to train in stage lighting during the preparations for the play “The Elephant Your Majesty…” ” that was presented at the French cultural center in December 2016.  

The trainers offered me a lot of support and during the performances I became the lighting technician.  I invited all my friends and they were impressed.

It was a life changing experience for me as it opened many doors and connections.  I started to make casting calls and I was chosen for a paid role in one of the films.  Also, I took part in starting a small theatre troupe at the Lebanese International University where I’m studying. My employers appreciate me more and they are tolerant when it comes to my schedule.

Most of all, it allowed me to search again for what I really wanted in life.

I wanted to study theatre in Syria but I wasn’t accepted so I studied law.

When you have a target that was lost from you and you find it again, you regain your self-confidence and determination and that alone motivated me to perform better in my job as a cleaning supervisor.

I think that the most important positive change that occurred to me, is the grant I got from Action for Hope to pursue my education at LIU in addition to the workshops.

When it comes to the negative changes I am experiencing, it’s sometimes hard to manage my time and some people around me question what I am doing.

Author: Ihsan Bakir, 27 years old from Aleppo

Activity: theatre

Story collected and compiled by: Mona Merhi

Date and place: Saturday may 6th , 2017| Ein El Remmeneh Cultural Center – Action for Hope