“I am a refugee who fled Syria due to the war, leaving behind everything I knew and loved. In 2014, I arrived in Denmark seeking safety and asylum. Since then, I have stayed in various camps, both in Denmark and other countries, as I struggled to rebuild my life.

Initially, I was given permission to stay in Denmark for only one year, and during that time, I was unable to bring my children to join me due to family reunification policies. Faced with the difficult decision of either leaving my children behind or taking the risk of an illegal journey, my family decided to follow me to Denmark through dangerous means.

Tragically, on their journey, my children and others were in a boat that capsized in the Mediterranean. Many people lost their lives, and my children were among the survivors. After days of not knowing where they were, I was finally able to connect with them through a hidden message on Facebook. Thanks to the help of volunteers and organizations in Denmark, my children were eventually reunited with me, and we have been living in a camp together since then.

Despite the challenges we have faced, I have managed to find work in Denmark, first at a solar panel company and then at a film production company. I have also worked with UNICEF and other Danish organizations as a translator, including in the Red Cross camp office.

In an effort to create a better future for myself and my family, I have even opened my own business, an ecological cleaning company that sells eco-friendly cleaning products and employs local workers.

However, my health has been deteriorating, and I suffer from psychological and physical issues such as disc problems in my neck and back. Despite this, I have worked hard to rebuild my life and support my family, but it has been a struggle due to the high cost of living in Denmark.

As much as I would like to return to Syria, the situation there remains unsafe and unstable, so I remain in Denmark, hoping to find a way to continue supporting my family and building a better future for us all. Any assistance or support would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Hope the photo shoot has help lift Manal’s spirits a bit and wish her all the best on her difficult journey.”

For this edition of The Uplift Sessions with Manal, we have been lucky to receive sponsorships from some very wonderful souls. Manals' white blouse is from an anonymous follower on Twitter, and her shoes are from the good Rasmus G. Kristensen @Mr_Argument, and are from Copenhagen Shoes, www.copenhagenshoes.dk/

The Hairdresser Anders Krumphart from Krumphart on Kompagnistræde 37, in Copenhagen has donated a complete hair makeover for Manals, including coloring. Anders can be booked here: https://krumphardt.com/

The talented makeup artist Rozelle Parry donated a whole day at the shoot to make sure Manal looked like a superstar. It was simply amazing and we are ever so thankful. Rozelle can be booked here: https://lemanagement.dk/artist/rozelle-parry/

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