Butterfly: From Refugee to Olympian

By Varese (ESV News).

Right now, while we all speak so much about corona virus, there are many other things happening around. One of these is the refugee crisis by the Greece and Turkish border. The suffering and hopes of refugees shouldn’t be neglected even during our current situation. The month of March initially was planned to be dedicated to strong, influential women by proposing books at our school’s library. But with the school closed, we would like to suggest you readingButterfly: From Refugee to Olympian – My Story of Rescue, Hope, and Triumphon Kindle or buying a book online (there is also a copy at school’s library in French). It is a book about strong, inspirational refugee sisters stepping up and surprising everyone.

The book review is prepared by one of the students who read it.


This book is a true story of a Syrian refugee swimmer, Yursa Mardini, who took part in the first Olympic games that hosted the team of refugees in the summer Olympic games of 2016. This first ever refugee team entered the stage under the flag of the Olympic games, and not the flag of their nations.

The book starts by telling her story as a child and her father’s dream to make her and her sister the best swimmers of the Syrian national team. Everything changed when the war started. The country they loved was falling apart. Syria wasn’t safe anymore and the family started a hard journey towards Germany.

They traveled through Turky, Greece, Hungary and other countries in inhuman conditions just because they were refugees. Yursa rightly points in the book that they didn’t choose to be refugees, but they just had to. The hardships of this journey were somehow compensated by the help and support received from different people, who brought a light of hope.

The possibility to join the first ever refugee team at the Olympic games was an emotional moment. Even if no medal was won, their stories and lives were testimonials also to us. If eventually the Olympic games in Tokyo will take place (as there are thoughts to suspend them due to corona virus), we could see the refugee team again.

This book was a big inspiration for me and opened my eyes to another side of the refugee reality, seeing them not as a “refugee” but as a person. It also helped to realize how lucky I am. Always remember that a little kind act can change someone’s life.

Her website: https://www.yusra-mardini.com/


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