Mohammad was one of key speaker during ASPIRE Sport training session in Belgium, Mechelen.

All participants had the chance to listen to a human who with danger to his own life, whistled his last matches in the Syrian Premier League. Who swam from Turkey to Greece. Who, in Serbia, stood in a humiliating refugee row for more than 30 hours. But it is all over now.  Today Mohammad - combines his referee work for the Belgian National Leaguedutch lessons with two jobs. In a school in Betekom he helps unaccompanied minor refugees. In Mechelen he helps with football projects for newcomers. 

- Mohammad, what is your superpower that helped you to overcome that difficult path from Aleppo to Europe. And build your life in Belgium again?
The first thing is believe in yourself and in your abilities! 
Usually I don't look around to see if others are watching me. And I don't seek recognition. I do 110% effort. No matter how many disappointments along the way, my mind was remaining stronger than ever, every minute, every hour, every day, focused to the finish and doing my best. 

- When do you feel most supported?                             
Feeling loved is the one thing we all want. It provides a safe and comforting feeling. 
With genuine relationships, our world is open and we don't feel alone. 
By choosing to be patient and surrounding by good people, you are choosing connection and support not only from others, but also from yourself. 
And here I have to say I'm grateful for my colleagues and supervisors who played a big role in my success. 

-What advice would you give to yourself when arriving in Belgium for the first time? 
Actually coming to Belgium has cost me to swim in the sea from Turkey to Greece for a distance of 5 km and risk my life. When I arrived to Belgium I said to myself, whatever will gonna happen to me here in Belgium, I will not find a more difficult situation than to swim from country to country!

I have to do always my best. I have to believe in myself. I have to forget all the bad memories and stay positive as much as possible. Even If I will be in bad situation I must stay positive. Because being positive in a negative situation is not a naive, it's leadership.


  • Name: Mohammad Jarkas
  • Age: 30
  • Profession: FIFA Referee
  • Background: Muhammad Jarkas is a Syrian refugee from the city of Aleppo. In Syria, he was a football referee for several years. Now, living in Belgium he is a referee for the Belgian National League, works as volunteer with Voice Mechelen (collaboration of Syrian refugees, focusing on the integration with local society)  and is under the founders of the United Mechelen Futsal football team, an initiative that helps newcomers to integrate in society through playing football.

Mohammad Jarkas

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