By Prateek Kayan:
Recently, at an underground street dance event in Berlin, I met Majeed, a young Syrian refugee. His story of hope and passion was something I felt the world must know about. We have been seeing the dark and grim side of the wars in Syria, but amidst those flames, there are stories of people like Majeed who have moved forward towards a safer and brighter future.
Majeed is like any other nineteen-year-old, checking out girls, posting selfies on Instagram and flexing his abdominals at the drop of a hat. But the closer you get to him, the more you learn about the rivers and forests he has crossed to be where he is. For a young boy, it has truly been a long way from Syria to Berlin and sadly the journey has just begun.
I met Majeed and we instantly hit it off. He was sort of the star of that evening, impressing fräulein with his b-boying skills. But not surprisingly, reserved and shy off stage. One can notice how Majeed’s struggles have made him his best friend. I want to share his story with the world. One of struggle, hope and of finding that spark that keeps you moving.
I met Majeed the following day at the Holocaust Memorial. Reminding us of the terrible consequences of war and dictatorship, Majeed’s story and the significance of the memorial was uncanny.
Majeed came to Germany in late 2015, following his brother who arrived here a couple of months before him. After shuffling through several camps he finally came to Berlin, a city he now calls home and is absolutely in love with. The sunny afternoon is a stark contrast from the cold and gray winter nights he spent crisscrossing treacherous paths to get here. But in his words, “It was all worth it, I feel safe now.”
Majeed now stays at a local gym. He doesn’t like the food there but he is not complaining. Besides exploring his new home, Majeed spends his day exercising and dancing. He is a member of a troupe and is also being trained by accomplished b-boying artists in Berlin. His face brightens up when he talks about b-boying. You can feel the energy bounce off him.
He is also learning German on the side but he can only start college after three years of ‘quarantine-ship’. Like any teenager, he doesn’t know what he wants to study. Somedays he wants to become a doctor while on other days he just wants to be lazy. But he sure does know he wants to continue dancing.
Most of his family and his parents are back in Syria. He doesn’t like to talk about the grim situation back there and I agree with him on this. One should rather look forward to a brighter future here than talk about what he was forced to leave behind in Syria. Berlin has embraced him and has given Majeed hope for a safer today and better tomorrow. His positive outlook on life is contagious and is another example of human will and triumph.
Germany has truly established its position as a world leader today by opening its doors for those seeking a safe haven. I have always loved Germany and I have a really special corner for this country. But today my appreciation for them has increased manifold. The country has tremendously transformed itself in the last 70 years and is a great example of positive human spirit.
Through Brown Boy, I can share a part of myself with the world. Share inspirational stories of people I meet and the work we do in bringing change to the world of fashion. We decided to bring together Majeed’s story through our brand. In this photoshoot, Majeed is wearing t-shirts from Brown Boy where each t-shirt resonates with the story and has some significance and meaning to this context.