Author(s): Yusra Mardini
"Being a refugee is not a choice. Our choice is to die at home or risk death trying to escape." - Yusra MardiniYusra Mardini fled her native Syria to the Turkish coast in 2015 and boarded a small dinghy full of refugees bound for Greece. When the small and overcrowded boat's engine cut out, it began to sink. Yusra, her sister and two others took to the water, pushing the boat for three and a half hours in open water until they eventually landed on Lesbos, saving the lives of the passengers aboard. Butterfly is the story of that remarkable woman, whose journey started in a war-torn suburb of Damascus and took her through Europe to Berlin and from there to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Yusra Mardini is an athlete, one of People magazine's twenty-five women changing the world, a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador and one of Time Magazine's thirty most influential teens of 2016.
Butterfly should be required reading for everyone -- The Pool Yusra reminds us of the human cost of the tragedy and the incredible fortitude, perseverance and hope of one young woman who struggles for a future -- Stephen Daldry, Director of Billy Elliot, The Reader and The Hours Yusra Mardini is a compact powerhouse of inspiration and determination. I am spellbound by her story of bravery and her incredible sister, Sara. What amazing young women, who illustrate to all of us that refugees are people with dreams and ambitions. Thank you for shining a spotlight on the crisis of our time. I have every finger crossed you will make it to the next Olympics! -- Cate Blanchett War, for all its atrocities, is punctuated by instances of unfathomable human spirit and grace. Olympic swimmer Yusra Mardini's story is a prime example. Butterfly recounts this Syrian refugee's extraordinary tale of bravery, survival, and winsome, never-give-up moxie. It is impossible not to be won over by Yusra, who once swam for her life at sea and is now fighting for the dignity and wellbeing of countless refugees like her whose lives have been upturned by war. -- Khaled Hosseini Yusra, we could not be prouder of you for your courage and your resilience and the great example that you're setting for children everywhere. -- President Barack Obama
Yusra Mardini is an Olympic swimmer and Syrian refugee who, in 2015, fled her hometown of Damascus when it became too dangerous to live in the war-torn country. In 2016 Mardini swam with the Refugee Olympic Team and was subsequently named a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador. She lives in Berlin and is training for the 2020 Olympics.