Syrian refugee's Ramadan campaign: schoolboy protests outside UK Parliament to highlight plight of victims

Abdullah Najjar fled war-torn homeland when he was three but still has family in the country

Every day during Ramadan, a teenage Syrian schoolboy is protesting outside the Houses of Parliament in London to shed light on the plight of refugees from his country.

Dressed in his purple school blazer, Abdullah Najjar, 13, says he wants to do what he can to help the millions afflicted by the decade-long Syrian civil war.

While Abdullah and his parents fled Syria when he was three, many of his family members are still in the country.

“When you are fasting and you have school on top of that, you don’t really have that much energy to spare. I guess that’s kind of the point really, because ironically you’re campaigning for people that have even less than what we have right now,” he told The National outside Parliament in Westminster.

Abdullah said it took him an hour to travel from his home to central London and two hours for the return journey.

He said he did “get very tired” but it was “all worth it”.

“My mum, she seems lonely at times with her family. It’s been 10 years, and I really empathise with her,” he said.

Abdullah’s father Mohammed said some relatives, including aunties and uncles, were still in Syria – particularly Aleppo.

“He talks to them from time to time. He keeps asking ‘are you safe, are you OK? Do you need any help? I just want to help you in any way’,” said Mohammed, who is a doctor with the UK’s National Health Service.

“He’s one of the stars of this family and I am very proud, I am very happy, I am very blessed.”

Abdullah is raising money for the Orphans Shelter Foundation and said he was inspired by the campaigners Greta Thunberg and Malala Yousafzai.

Updated: May 10, 2021 04:07 PM

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