Like most youth her age, Dima Al-Irani is a bundle of nerves about moving on from high school to university.
Still, the 18-year-old found time earlier this year to volunteer in various Healthy Spring Days events that ANERA organized to promote the rational use of medicine (RUM).
The RUM project is of special interest to Dima. She hopes to study pharmacology at a local university, if she can afford it. “Lebanese universities are very expensive. You can spend on average $5,000 a semester for tuition, but I could go abroad and study for much less,” she explains. No matter where she goes, Dima is determined to pursue her dream.
Her older brother, Wael, is also studying pharmacology. It’s not a coincidence that she is following in her brother’s footsteps. Family plays a large role in Dima’s life, and her favorite pasttime is spending time with them. All 50 of her extended family members live in the same neighborhood and every afternoon in the summer they head for their mountain home to relax together.
Dima looks to her mother, Fatima, as a great inspiration. “I hope to accomplish as much as my mother has in her lifetime,” she says. At the age of 40, Fatima returned to school to get a degree in teaching and has begun working at the preschool where Dima also works.
Her mother’s drive is also reflected in Dima’s determination to make important changes within her community. “If I could, I would improve education within my community.” Dima sees many challenges. “Over the past few years, the level of education here has decreased. I want children in the future to have access to quality education.”
Dima’s commitment to her community is evident when she speaks about her home town. She would like to travel and, if she could choose, she would go to France. But she says Na’ameh is where she wants to live her life and raise a family.
In addition to swimming and dancing, Dima has found a passion in creative writing. She writes about friendship, daily life, and love. Writing inspires and comforts her. “When I feel upset, I write,” she admits as she tells about a time when she fought with her friends. Her reaction? She wrote a poem and posted it on Facebook and received many comments from friends and relatives about how lovely it was.
“I am inspired even by bad things…You have to find the beauty in everything,” smiles Dima, offering a philosophy that will guide her to a rewarding life.