Sarah Ezzat Mardini Shares Her Inspiring Story With Hingham Community



On the right, Sarah Ezzat Mardini standing next to a fellow refugee.

Kaylee Hill, Contributing Writer

This past Wednesday night,  April 5th, at 7 P.M. in the auditorium of Hingham High School, faculty, students, and members of the community gathered to listen to Sarah Ezzat Mardini and her miraculous story following the tragedies inflicted on her and her family.

Sarah started off her presentation paying homage to the millions of children suffering as refugees today. Her heartfelt story began with the audience highlighting her message. Junior Michael Hill stated, “Sarah really connected with the audience and it is amazing to think that this humanitarian crisis still continues. Sarah brings new hope that refugees should be welcomed instead of pushed away”.

Sarah’s drawing in of everyday activities really helped put things into perspective and demonstrate how her passion, swimming, became a main staple in her life. Pursuing her education and studies in college, Sarah stuck with swimming, something that would one day help save her life.

Back in August 2015, Sarah and her family found their lives completely destroyed. “The war started,” Sarah blankly stated, “and then one day I was so scared I didn’t even yell and I was freezing in bed and my sister, we looked at each other, and didn’t know what to do.” While the bombings increased in volume and multitude, Sarah and her family tried to carry out their everyday lives as best they could, but the constant danger was inescapable.

After finally facing so much, Sarah and her family made the difficult decision to leave. “I had to pack nineteen years in one backpack,” Sarah exclaimed. It was heartbreaking because the things she valued the most were the things she could not take with her. Both Sarah and her sister cried as they said goodbye to their lives in Syria.

With a heavy heart, Sarah and her sister Ysra boarded an inflatable boat headed for Greece, but their journey would hardly be easy. The goal was trying to get to Germany. “We just wanted to arrive,” Sarah said.  Unfortunately, the boat carrying the refugees to Greece began to sink and stall. The inflatable was overcrowded and hardly buoyant and turning back would be quite dangerous. The two sisters bravely volunteered to hang on the sides of the boat and pull it towards the shore of the Greek island, Lesvos. Before jumping in, death flashed across Sarah’s eyes, but not without her sister Ysra. Ysra could not bare to part with Sarah.

Upon arriving in Lesvos, Greece, the darkness had encompassed them all and only after finding another boat of refugees to guide them were they able to land ashore. After finding a camp of refugees, Sarah and her sister were finally able to rest for a day, but something was missing. A stamp. A stamp was blocking Sarah and her sister’s path to safety. Authorities refused to let the them cross borders without it.

The paperwork needed to get the girls a stamp and across Greece took a week to obtain. Once they were cleared, the girls took a ferry to Athens and then by walking, car, and train, they finally arrived safely in Germany. They stayed in a camp for six months and had to wait to see if Germany would accept them.

After finding a swimming club, the two girls took up the opportunity to demonstrate their swimming professional abilities. The club became a place of comfort after such a harrowing journey. As time went on, the girl’s shared story involving their dire swim went viral. It blasted across social media describing the long and harsh journey undertaken to escape the war.

Mrs. Sutton, the coordinator for this event, stated, “I think the amazing thing about Sarah is that she was just a normal teenage girl who found herself in a terrible situation and never let fear of the unknown prevent her from moving forward and achieving her goals. Even when she realized that, after all she had gone through, her dream of being an Olympic swimmer may be lost forever, instead of wallowing in her misery, she turned that energy and courage toward something productive and began helping other refugees”.

Sarah has dedicated much of her time and energy in helping fellow refugees coming to Lesvos, Greece, and supporting them in a time of great need. Today, Sarah continues work supporting refugees and fighting for human rights, sharing her own story and beliefs with the world.