Mohannad Al Masri was born in Syria and raised in Jordan in a family of seven. His father was unable to work due to a chronic, life-threatening heart condition, leaving Mohannad responsible for supporting his family.
To save his family from hunger and homelessness, Mohannad’s only choice was to work in making plaster moulds during the day and attend school in the evenings. He often had to return to work after his night classes to make additional income that he could use to secure food and medication for his family.
Despite his rough living conditions, Mohannad excelled as one of the top students at Mohyi Al-Din Bin Arabi Primary School for Boys. Life’s hardships also did not stop him from pursuing his favourite hobby – reading. Books were a refuge that wiped away the day’s fatigue, transporting him to worlds where knowledge and joy knew no limits. Mohannad participated in the fourth edition of the Arab Reading Challenge (2018/2019 academic year). He impressed the jury with his wit, optimism and smile, which hid life’s worries and burdens.
The plaster under Mohannad’s nails and the ash on his palms tell the story of his difficult life, but they also tell the story of a boy who refused to be anything less than a knight in shining armour at the Arab Reading Challenge.