By Katie Kausch
Unlike other 16-year-olds, Nageen Mustafa hasn't spent the past few weeks enjoying the end of summer and starting the new school year. Instead, the teen from Syria has spent the past 20 days traveling through Europe to Hungary -- while being confined to her wheelchair.
Mustafa and her sister left their war-torn hometown of Kobani, Syria, in hopes of meeting their brother in Germany, but are stuck at the Serbia-Hungary border which has been closed to try and prevent the huge influx of refugees from entering Hungary.
They first had to travel across the Mediterranean Sea -- a dangerous trip that has claimed the lives of more than 2,500 migrants and refugees so far this year. Mustafa described this leg of her trip as "funny, because it's the first time [she] had seen the sea."
Mustafa said the sisters arrived at the border just as it was closed: "That’s enough! We don’t need more suffering and struggling, so please open the door,” she said, ABC News reports. “Please, I need to get to Hungary."
The border could be closed for up to a month, according to the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with the goal of trying to slow the flow of migrants into Europe. Since January, more than 350,000 migrants and refugees have entered the European Union, according to the International Organization for Migration -- and that doesn’t include those who slipped past border control agents.
Disability in Syria still has an enormous social stigma attached to it. And, because of her wheelchair, Mustafa has never been able to attend school. She learned English through watching episodes of her favorite TV show, Days Of Our Lives (although, in typical teenage fashion, she's upset writers killed off her favorite character.)
Despite the overwhelming hardships she had to face, Mustafa is still hopeful for the future: "I hope than I will be an astronaut,” she said. “I’ve always wondered what Neil Armstrong saw on the moon."