May Al-Herek | Syria | Environmental Sciences | Asian University for Women, Bangladesh

Meet May, currently an English teacher from Syria. From a young age, her parents taught her the value of an education and she developed an early interest in the environment when she was in elementary school. However, despite her strong academic record, the currency inflation in Syria made it impossible for her parents to afford the university tuition. With funding from The Spark of Hope Foundation, May was able to study Environmental Sciences at the Asian University for Women in Bangladesh.

“Back when I was in elementary school, I learned about ecological balance, and it shocked me how careless humans’ actions are in terms of the environment, and how we do not hesitate to make laws that disturb ecological balance despite the fact that it will cause us great harm for us in future. As time passed, I started watching different documentaries and researching more about environmental science. This increased my concerns about the environment and made me understand the importance of taking an action about it. I actually felt that though the current path of human society’s development can cause a lot of harm to the environment and eventually humans, there is a potential that with the right knowledge and leadership we can mitigate these problems, and I strongly wanted to be a part of the solution.” 

Not only did her studies give her an opportunity to conduct extensive research on the environment, she also gained valuable skills in leadership and critical thinking, which she can carry forward in her daily life and career.

In addition to being passionate about environmental sciences, May enjoys reading and playing music on the oud, a popular instrument in the Middle East.

In terms of future endeavours, May would like to one day pursue a Master’s and PhD in Environmental Sciences to continue conducting research on water treatment and management. She would like to develop ways for Syria to use water sustainably. Syria is scarce in water and because of poor water management, water is rapidly decreasing. In addition to water management research, May also wishes to apply her leadership and critical thinking skills and inspire Asian women to pursue their passions.