Buraq Ahmed moved to the UK at three years old to have surgery after being diagnosed with congenital hip dysplasia. Ahmed travelled to the UK with his grandmother, intent to only remain here for as long as his treatment was needed. 
In order to fund the treatment he desperately required, his parents sold their home in Iraq in 2005, though this would prove to be his last meeting with them for 10 years. The war in Iraq intensified, leaving Buraq and his grandmother to begin a new life as refugees in Cardiff.
Buraq told reporters:
“Neither my grandmother nor myself spoke English when we arrived in the UK, and there were many days when I was unable to move.”
“Initially we were only coming to the UK for a limited time. However, the Iraq War and ISIS terrorism attacks meant we couldn’t go back.”
“As I have got older, I have realised what a worrying time it must have been for my parents and my three younger brothers who were born after I left Iraq and now live in Belgium.”
Fifteen years later, that new life continues with Ahmed having earned a place at the University of Cambridge – one of the best universities in the world – to study Medicine after achieving top grades in his A-levels.
Ahmed achieved an A* grade in all the subjects he studied, including Maths, Biology, Chemistry, and Economics. His academic success comes after nine surgeries, repeated trips to hospitals, and daily medication to manage the extreme pain he was experiencing. Ahmed explained that it was the “amazing NHS nurses” who inspired him to pursue a career as a doctor.
“Having spent so much time in hospitals with some of my happiest times being looked after by amazing NHS nurses, I decided that I wanted to help other people who were suffering.”
Ahmed studied at Cardiff Sixth Form College, where he was awarded a 100% scholarship. Ahmed has very fond memories of his time there since joining in 2008, complimenting the “really amazing students from all over the world.”
Prior to joining the college, Ahmed was a keen footballer and was chosen to play for Cardiff City FC Academy. But as his hip condition worsened, his ability to move became more difficult, and he was unable to play, instead focusing more on his studies.
Ahmed did not let his inability to move become a disability to be active. He later went on to compete in the Oxford and Cambridge regional debates, as well as being an active member of a student-led medical ethics society.
Gareth Collier, the principal of Cardiff Sixth Form College, said:
“Buraq is an extraordinary student who out of adversity has really gone onto achieve great things.”
“Despite the traumatic start to his life, continued separation from his parents and the strong medication that he uses to manage his daily pain, Buraq never dwelled on these difficulties.”
“Instead, this has made him resilient, determined to succeed, and embrace every opportunity that has been available at the college.”
“He fully deserves both his grades and a place at Cambridge. Our NHS needs people like Buraq and I am truly delighted for him.”
May Allāh make him an asset to this Ummah. Amin.
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