Syrian teenager wins top UK award just two years after arriving in Belfast

Aisha Al Najjar and her family left Syria in 2012 and had been living in Lebanon before arriving in Northern Ireland in December 2015 with her mother and two brothers under the Relocation of Vulnerable People Scheme.

Her father had been seriously injured as result of the war and died in Beirut.

The 18-year-old had started to learn English while she was in Lebanon but had missed some of her schooling.

When she arrived in Northern Ireland, Ms Al Najjar was eager to start school and enrolled at Malone College.

After months of hard work, Ms Al Najjar spent the next year studying to fit her two-year GCSE courses into one, and achieved three A* in Arabic and Double Science, an A in Maths, and a C in English Language.

With her outstanding academic achievements, Ms Al Najjar was nominated for the Bardnardo’s UK Young Achiever of the Year Award by her key worker Bebhinn Murray from Barnardo’s NI, which she won.

The award was in recognition of her academic achievements, her strong character and the positive impact she has on other young girls arriving in Northern Ireland via the Relocation of Vulnerable Persons Scheme.