Last night, five organizations – the Nathan Smith Society, the Dickey Center Global Health Initiative, the Geisel Center for Health Equity, Geisel Physicians for Human Rights, and the Children¹s Hospital at Dartmouth (ChAD) – had the pleasure of hosting Sara Mardini, an inspirational, young Syrian refugee. Sara shared her story of her journey escaping from Syria with her younger sister, Yusra.

Their journey was frequently hampered by obstacles that tested their will and grit. As they attempted to enter Greece, their boat¹s motor broke. Sara and Yusra saved 20 lives by swimming for three and a half hours while guiding their refugee boat through the Mediterranean Sea. In addition, local villagers threw shoes at her and in a separate incident, local authorities threw her in jail for suspected terrorism after speaking Arabic on a train.

Today, she is a Human Rights Champion recognized by the UN and European Parliament and Yusra is an Olympic swimmer. Sara continues to help other refugees by working with refugee camps and by serving as a lifeguard and scanning the Greek coastline to help other refugee boats. Last night¹s program illustrated the humanity within the refugee crisis, and drove home a pointed message that they should be treated with the same human rights standards and dignity that all people deserve.