Zahra Mackaoui

Beyond Borders

Beyond Borders

BBC World Service Radio

The Syrian war has created one of the largest human displacements in history – with millions of people on the move seeking safety. For over 5 years, I followed the stories of a group of Syrians, who have scattered across the world in search of safety. In this 2 part radio documentary series, I revisit these refugees to hear how they have coped – or otherwise - often in conditions of incredible adversity, hearing about the challenges they have faced, the choices they have made and how they have managed to survive and on occasion, to thrive.

In programe I, I revist Hani, a young man who has become a national figure in his new homeland of Canada, where he served on the National Youth Council. From there the story passes to Hani’s cousin Ayesha, who is in Lebanon, where life is often difficult. In Lebanon, I catch up with a young girl called Shahad. Her family home was destroyed by a missile and they are now living in abject poverty in a half-built university south of Beirut.

In programme 2, I travel to rural Sweden to see Doaa Al-Zemal, who survived the sinking of a boat in the Mediterranean by floating on a rubber ring. Her story has now been optioned for a film by Steven Spielberg. Also in Europe, Fewaz and his family have found refuge near Bremen – and though he is grateful for Germany’s hospitality, he is finding it difficult to integrate. I end the series with Faysal, who escaped to Turkey before returning to his home city of Kobani in Syria. The war there has finished but danger remains – and he himself was severely wounded after stepping on a landmine.

Programme #1
Programme #2