1. In 2012, Mahmoud and his family fled their hometown of Aleppo, in Syria, as civil war raged in the country.
3. Mahmoud became the victim of bullies and was physically attacked. Afraid and unable to attend school, the young boy refused to leave his family’s apartment.
“I wanted to leave because there is no school here and I don’t have friends,” Mahmoud said in 2013.
“They hit me all the time.”
4. Mahmoud’s father Mohamed Farid also saw no future for his eldest child in Egypt and eventually took the harrowing decision to put his son on an illegal boat to Italy, alone.
5. He said at the time:
No one sends their son out into the world alone unless they live in real fear.
Our lives are too difficult here.
6. However, the boat Mahmoud took was fired upon before it even left Egyptian waters.
The young boy then spent the next five days in a detention centre without his family.
When he returned to Cairo the bullying resumed but he remained resolute.
8. What happened next turned his and his family’s life around.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) presented Mahmoud’s case to the Swedish government after it began accepting Syrain refugees and in December 2013, Mahmoud and his family were informed they were being relocated.