The Stream

‘The Swimmers’: Can a movie change how people view refugees?

On Thursday, December 8 at 19:30 GMT:
The movie “The Swimmers” tells the true story of Yusra and Sara Mardini – two sisters fleeing the war in Syria. With the goal of seeking safety in Germany, they become refugees in the Aegean Sea, traveling in an overcrowded raft with 18 other people, and end up using their skills as competitive swimmers to save the lives of those on board by guiding the vessel to Lesbos, Greece.

Younger sister Yusra eventually reaches her lifelong goal of becoming an Olympic swimmer – competing in the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro as a member of a refugee Olympic team.

Directed by Sally El Hosaini, “The Swimmers” depicts Yusra and Sara’s life amid conflict, the decision to flee the Syrian war in 2015, and the challenges they faced in Europe while resettling and reviving Yusra’s dream of competitive swimming.

Today, as human rights activists, both Mardini sisters continue working to advocate for refugee rights.

In this episode of The Stream, we’ll look at the film and hear more about this story of refugees and human resilience.

On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:
Yusra Mardini, @YusraMardini
Olympian and UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador

Sara Mardini, @SarahMardini4
Humanitarian activist

Sally El Hosaini, @sallyelh
Director and writer, “The Swimmers”