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Syrian Refugee Dentist Shares his Inspiring Story with Pupils

Students at Hazlegrove Prep School were treated to a special guest speaker last week, as they welcomed Mr Eiad Zinah, a dentist, PhD student, and Syrian refugee who shared with them his extraordinary experiences.


The pupils had been reading Refugee Boy by Benjamin Zephaniah, a novel about a young boy who flees Ethiopia and Eritrea and seeks asylum in England. The school wanted to further expose the pupils to diversity and foster their understanding and empathy for others, especially those who have to leave their homes and seek refuge in a foreign land.

Mr Zinah told the pupils about his life in Syria before the civil war, his studies and work as a dentist, and his love for his country and culture. He then described his harrowing journey from Syria to the UK, involving smugglers, a small wooden boat in the Mediterranean Sea, and a long trek across Europe. He also spoke about the difficulties and discrimination he faced as a refugee in different countries, and the kindness and generosity of people who helped him along the way.

The pupils were captivated by his storytelling and were moved by his courage and resilience. They asked him many questions about his experiences, his feelings, and his hopes for the future. Mr Zinah answered them with honesty and humour, and encouraged them to be open-minded and compassionate towards others.

Mr Zinah also talked about his achievements and contributions in the UK, where he has been granted asylum and citizenship. He has resumed his dental career and is currently pursuing his PhD in dental public health at King’s College London. He is also a volunteer dentist for Dentaid, a charity that provides dental care to people in need around the world. He has addressed the House of Lords, been interviewed on the BBC Breakfast Show, and visited over 350 schools to share his story and raise awareness about the plight of refugees.

The school staff and pupils expressed their gratitude and admiration for Mr Zinah, and said that they learned a lot from his presentation. They also said that they gained a deeper understanding and appreciation of the struggles and aspirations of refugees, and the importance of diversity and inclusion in society.

November '23