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Nujeen Mustafa became a refugee and disability rights advocate after her harrowing journey seeking haven from the war in Syria. At age 16, Nujeen traveled more than 5,600 km – from Syria to Germany – in her wheelchair. Born with cerebral palsy, Nujeen spent much of her life confined to her home. She was unable to even attend school.
When the bombs of Syrian president Bashir al Assad started raining down on Aleppo, Nujeen and her family were forced to flee. Her family didn’t have enough money for everyone to make it safely to Germany, so Nujeen and her sister embarked on a grueling 16-month journey by foot, boat, and bus. They crossed the Mediterranean Sea to Greece and struggled through Macedonia, Serbia, and Hungary, before finally arriving in Germany.
This experience compelled Nujeen to become a disability and refugee rights advocate. She is also the first disabled person to brief the United Nations Security Council and has become a prominent champion for humane refugee policies around the world.