Curated Story
This article originally appeared on BBC

Mariam Hammad, despite every adversity of war and hardship, is trying to be a student in Aleppo in the dark heart of Syria's civil war.

"My city has turned to ruins," she says.

Despite being in constant danger, forced out of her home twice by shelling and living without regular supplies of electricity or water, this 22-year-old has refused to give up being a student.

Her reaction has been to stubbornly carry on and to use her studies as a way of honouring those who have died.

She became an online student in a warzone, following a degree course run by the US-based University of the People, making a conscious decision to be "optimistic" and to make plans to "rebuild.”

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Ashoka insight

The University of the People, founded by Ashoka Israeli Fellow Shai Resehef, allows people in war-torn Syria to take courses online.