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Hamza’s Story

Congratulations to Hamza Bani-Hani, a longtime AFC client who not only graduated from high school this June, but was also AFC’s Education Champion at our 50th Anniversary Spring Benefit! At the benefit, Hamza shared his story, reflecting on how he used to feel in school: “When I look back, what I mostly remember is being frustrated and angry that I wasn’t learning the way the other kids seemed to be.  My mom knew from when I was in pre-school that I was not progressing the way I should be.”

After years of fighting on her own, Hamza’s mother, Merieme, came to AFC in 2012. With legal representation from AFC, Merieme obtained a better school placement, tutoring, and a dedicated paraprofessional who could work with Hamza in the classroom. With these supports, Hamza was able to process his lessons in a way that worked for him: everything he learned in the classroom would be reinforced by his paraprofessional, and then further reiterated by his afterschool tutor. He was finally able to flourish, graduating this June with a Regents diploma! He will be heading to college to pursue his dream of becoming an animator.

Merieme’s years of dogged advocacy on behalf of Hamza and his sister Sumaya has also made her a beacon in her community, where she shares her knowledge and experience with other parents who feel lost, to help them navigate the school system and advocate for their children’s education needs.

We’re so proud of Hamza and honored to be a part of his story. Congratulations to Hamza and his family!