The New Arab Logo

Breaking News
First Syrian refugee in Mexico becomes local celebrity Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

First Syrian refugee in Mexico becomes local celebrity

Mexico has not yet formally agreed to resettle any refugees [Getty]

Date of publication: 26 February, 2016

Share this page:
  • 0

  • twitter
A Syrian refugee has found fame after being the first to land in Mexico.
A Syrian who has started a new life in Mexico has become a local celebrity for being the first refugee from the war-torn nation to arrive in the country.

Essa Hassan's journey was sponsored by a non-profit group named the Habesha Project which offers scholarships to Syrian students affected by the conflict.

The 26-year-old said he was short of options before he met Adrian Melendez, the project's founder, in a refugee camp in Lebanon. Melendez was to kick start the campaign to get Hassan to Mexico.

"I had nearly spent all my money and I was running out of options. By November I had lost all hope. All I knew was that going back to Syria was not an option for me," Hassan told Amnesty International.

He fled Syria in March 2012 to escape his pending military service for the government.

"Leaving was the only option left for me. I tried to delay the military service by continuing with my university studies but I could not find a Masters in time. I did not have an exact plan. My first priority was to leave and then find a way to survive. It was a mess."

Hassan still does not know whether the move is permanent but has confirmed he wants to "continue with my studies, to continue preparing myself for the future".

The programme is set to bring 29 other students into the country, where they will study at Panamerican University.

"The most important thing about this project is to show that anybody can do something to help. Since Essa arrived in Mexico we have received messages from people in Ecuador and Costa Rica who want to do the same, so there's definitely hope," said Melendez.

The Habesha Project has also found places for refugees in other Latin American countries including Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay.

The New ArabComments

Most Popular

Most Popular

    Read More