This week I’ve spent a lot of time reading about the Syrian refugees and giving much thought to my future learning space. As I did, everything I had envisioned just felt insufficient and insignificant as you look at the statistics around children and education. I had planned to focus on girls education but I continue to have an internal battle with my emotions when I think about denying the remaining children in the Zaatari refugee camp an opportunity to also receive an education. I have to remind myself though that this is a starting point. One step at a time. So, today after much thought, I have decided to continue with my focus on girls education and in the future I will look at extending on this idea and creating a child friendly safe haven that delivers a holistic approach to improving the quality of life for both girls and boys.
- There are approximately 80000 people living in the Zaatari Camp with more than half of these being children.
- According to the U.N., more than half of all Syrian refugees — roughly 2.5 million — are under the age of 18. Most have been out of school for months, if not years.
- Last year, 23% of Syrian refugee girls were child brides
- Surveys conducted by UN Women showed that 44% of Syrians felt the normal age of marriage for girls was between 15-17years with 6% identified 12-14years as the normal age in their community.
- Many Syrian refugee parents whose daughters marry early view child marriage as a way to cope with poverty and insecurity
- Female refugees face major challenges in accessing basic resources and services as it can be unsafe leaving home without a male
These statistics are heartbreaking but also motivating. They motivate me to do better and to think bigger in order to make a difference. Could the antidote to child marriage be education? Although I may not be able to achieve what I want to for my future learning space within 3 weeks, I am thinking about how to reach the most girls possible and make a difference in lives in order to provide a future that they deserve.