Mariam, 23, received her bachelor's degree in English and French literature from Al-Azhar University, and also studied for one semester at New York University. "I believe life is about setting goals and working to achieve our potential," she says. "What made me become interested in writing is that many people in this big world don't know who 'the Palestinians' really are as people, and that is my first identity. I don't exaggerate when I say many people elsewhere don't know we even exist–not just about the conflict or occupation, but that we are a huge number of human beings who have their own stories of success, dreams, motivation and pain. This is what inspired me to study languages, so that I am able to deliver my message to as many people as I can and can be present in this world as real people with real lives, not just as victims."
Mariam was finally able to leave Gaza in November 2017 to join her husband, who has been working as a journalist in Algeria, after a separation of many months.