Nada* was turned away at three different schools because of her physical and mental challenges before finally getting accepted. Since then, she never looked back.

Nada shows off her mark sheet with a proud smile. The letter A, which equals ‘Excellent’, is indicated next to one of her favourite subjects: Geography. In the final exams, she got an overall B. "In Geography we learn about the environment, nature and countries. We study about Lebanon too."

The high marks take Nada to the fourth year in her primary education. The fact that she was excluded from education because she had physical limitations meant that she had to work hard to catch up on lost years.

Today, she is not counting how much free time she still has this summer, but how many days are left before school opens its doors again. "I love to learn. My sister helps me hold the pen and write my homework. She also tests my maths knowledge."

Asked how she would react if someone told her there would be no more school, Nada says "I would never accept it, because I want to keep learning.’’ Nada’s intellectual drive has given her the upper hand over mental and physical disabilities she was born with. Her mother doesn’t find it surprising. She was told by a doctor that her daughter was 'an exceptionally smart girl.' Nada’s dream shows some truth in the doctor’s words.

"I want to be a doctor to treat people like me. That’s my goal."

*Name changed for protection purposes.


Nada was born with disability that affected her nervous system and mental development. Her parents were desperate to find a treatment for her but were told there was little to be done. As she grew up, Nadia’s mother noticed that her eldest daughter was remarkably intelligent, an observation seconded by mental specialists.

Nada suffered from discrimination at school. During playtime, one of Save the Children’s Education Community Liaison operating in the school would often spot the girl by herself, with no friends to play with. Close coordination with teachers encouraged her classmates to accept her as a friend, which reflected positively on her performance.