As a young girl growing up in war-torn northern Iraq, being able to get a good education meant everything to Haneen Zakariya.
"[In Iraq] we didn’t have a car, and the bus was too expensive, so I would walk to school each day," the 23-year-old tells Mamamia.
"I enjoyed school, mainly because I could see friends, but also to learn maths and Arabic. Education is important to me," says the student, who speaks three languages - Syrian (her mother tongue), Arabic (her second language) and English.
Watch: A gentlemen's club helped fight for women's rights in Iraq. Post continues below.
There are currently close to 3.2 million school-aged Iraqi children out of school, according to UNICEF. The situation is especially concerning for girls, who are under-represented in both primary and secondary schools.
As with many young people raised in Iraq, Haneen's life has been shaped by years of conflict: from the US invasion to multiple insurgencies, civil war and the rise of ISIS.
It was only two years ago that Haneen, her parents, and two (out of four) of her siblings fled from their hometown of northern Iraq, after ISIS militants overran her state.
"Life was challenging, and we were all fearful living in my home country due to the conflict," she said.
"We fled when I was 17. My family and I, along with other people from the community, left everything behind and walked for six to seven hours overnight (because it was safe at this time), crossing into another state."
From there, Haneen and her family received a visa to go to Lebanon.
"Life was incredibly difficult in Lebanon. When we arrived, we had no place to live and no belongings with us, so we lived in a church for one month. Afterwards, my brother, sister and I started new jobs."
"We would work from 8am to 5pm for $25 per day. Once we had saved enough money, my parents and two siblings moved into a small flat."