Syrian Boy From Watertown Hopes His Story Will Help Other Refugees | NECN
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Syrian Boy From Watertown Hopes His Story Will Help Other Refugees

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The conflict in Syria hits close to home for one boy in Watertown, Massachusetts, who remembers exactly what it was like to escape the war-torn country.

    (Published Tuesday, April 18, 2017)

    From the chemical weapons attack to the airstrikes, the conflict in Syria is in the minds of many, but it hits close to home for one boy in Watertown, Massachusetts, who remembers exactly what it was like to escape the war-torn country.

    Danny Aldehneh is 11 years old and has already written a book about the journey he and his family made from Syria to the United States in 2014.

    Aldehneh does not have to use his imagination to illustrate the violence he escaped.

    "I was 6 when the war started," Aldehneh said. "We would hear sounds of bombs getting fired and gunshots."

    Aldehneh's self-published book is called "Ahlan U.S.A," which means "Hello U.S.A" in Arabic. In it, he describes how his childhood was interrupted by civil war, detailing the family's trip to their safe house in Damascus before deciding to make the journey to Massachusetts.

    Aldehneh's story comes to life in a short video called "Haven: A Story of Loss and Home." It was made with the help of the Open Documentary Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, using a new virtual reality platform called VR Doodler.

    "Anybody can create virtual worlds in this way," MIT fellow Cindy Bishop said. "It's about making illustrations and seeing if they can capture imaginations and hearts in a different way."

    As the sounds of violence continue in Syria and the number of refugees seeking asylum rising, Aldehneh says he will keep drawing and speaking, hoping his story will help others understand.

    You can watch Aldehneh's story here.

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