‘Being a refugee
is not a choice. Our choice is to die at home or risk death trying to escape.’

Yusra Mardini


Yusra 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.



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 the youngest ever UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador. The Malala Fund named Yusra in their list of Game Changers and she is also one of the hundred women featured in Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls. She lives in Berlin where she continues to train and compete internationally.

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