Alumni Prize 2014 for Social Involvement

Montag, 22. Dezember 2014 | 

Schlagwörter »  |  Thema: englisch

The booster association Alumni Freiburg e. V. recognizes students of the University of Freiburg for outstanding volunteer work with the Alumni Prize for Social Involvement in order to show that supporting social causes is worth the effort. This year the prize went to Dunja Khoury, who has provided exemplary support for the victims of the Syrian conflict with the organization Barada Syrienhilfe e. V.

Dunja Khoury
Dunja Khoury (center) helps Syrian refugee children
Photo: Dunja Khoury

The Alumni Prize for Social Involvement has been awarded each year since 2012 to students who devote themselves to improving studying or living conditions for students of the University of Freiburg or show exemplary dedication to social causes outside of the university. The prize is awarded each year at the official opening of the academic year.
From among the many nominations for the Alumni Prize for Social Involvement received this year, the jury chose Dunja Khoury in a unanimous decision. With support from the nonprofit organization Barada Syrienhilfe e. V., established in 2011, the psychology student founded the Amal School – the “School of Hope” – for refugee children at one of Syria’s largest refugee camps. The school gives 500 children the opportunity to receive an education, “because,” as Dunja Khoury says, “education is absolutely essential for Syria’s future.”
The 23-year-old witnessed first hand how important it would be to rebuild the country’s demolished educational structures during her first trip to the Turkish-Syrian border on a student internship in 2013 to work with traumatized refugees. She asked innumerable children about their biggest wish – and nearly always got the same answer: “We want to go to school.” This hunger for learning was very remarkable, says Dunja Khoury. She is convinced that education is the key to building up a democratic society in which extremist movements have no place. Thus, for her peace begins with the children.
Dunja Khoury’s own Syrian roots played a crucial role in her motivation to help the Syrian refugees. “If my parents hadn’t come to Germany, I myself would be one of these refugees today,” says the student, who was born in Germany to Syrian parents. Thus, in addition to providing humanitarian aid to the people in Syria she wants to serve as their spokesperson here, to give them a “voice in the world.” In this regard, she raises awareness in Germany for the plight of the Syrian people at countless panel discussions, schools, and fundraising events.
Her dedication to Syrian refugees has also strengthened the psychology student in her choice of career goal. She already received the opportunity to apply knowledge from clinical and rehabilitation psychology during her internship at a rehabilitation center. For example, she used methods from art therapy to reach the refugees, some of whom were severely traumatized and found it difficult to speak about what they had experienced. She would like to continue along this path and become a trauma therapist – in Syria, she hopes.
The Alumni Prize for Social Involvement is worth 2000 euros. Dunja Khoury planes to use the prize money to help build an orphanage – for the countless children who have lost their parents in the Syrian Civil War.



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