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Afghan student who fled the Taliban secures university place
FIVE years ago Ali Qamari arrived in Buckinghamshire not being able to speak a word of English and having had no formal education.
Both of his parents were dead, having been shot by the Taliban, and he had just endured unimaginable hardship on a tortuous eight month journey to Britain.
He was just ten when he had to flee his native Afghanistan after his parents were gunned down in an attack that also saw him shot at as he tried to escape the violence.
After first living in Pakistan and then Iran he made the move to Britain - walking so far that he had to have a hip replacement despite his tender age.
Now aged 19, Ali was this week celebrating achieving a place at university to study maths - an outlook that looked an impossible dream just five short years ago.
He said: "I never went to school, never did anything regarding studies. I came to England five years ago and didn't know any English or have any education."
His first steps into education began at Chesham Park and Buckingham School, before he enrolled as a pupil at High Wycombe's Royal Grammar School in year ten.
This week he received his A Level results: an A* in Urdu - a language he is self taught in - a B in maths and a D in geography. He will now study mathematics at Brunel University.
Ali said: "Knowing what I went through, all the trauma I had from my past, never going to school, these grades are an amazing thing for me.
"I really struggled to begin with but I knew I was in the right place. All the teachers were great from day one. They recognised my potential and were keen to help me all the time I was in to study.
"I have never felt I never belonged in Britain. I have always received good things from people. My whole lifestyle has changed - I don't remember how I was before."
He described his eight month ordeal in trying to reach Britain as horrific, admitting that looking back he can't believe he did it.
Ali said: "I had to run away from them [the Taliban] and survive. I went through the mountains and across the sea in dinghies. One of the dinghies sank when we were crossing the sea between Turkey and Greece. We were in the middle of water for 36 hours before we were rescued."
Life is now far easier than the horrors he escaped from but compared to his classmates at RGS he still had a tough time once he was settled in England. When living in Hayes it was necessary for him to travel for two hours in each direction in order to get to school.
Even now English is his seventh language and Ali, who now lives in Prestwood, said: "Life is never easy. You have to go through difficulties. Everyone has the determination and resilience in them."