Receiving a quality education amongst what is described as the worst humanitarian crisis in history is hard enough, yet for girls in Syria they are faced with additional barriers and obstacles to overcome. Behind hunger are the barriers of early marriage, lower social status, school safety, sanitation and chores.
Earlier this year at the Supporting Syria and the Region Conference, Malala and Mazoon who I have previously referred to as inspirational advocates for girl’s education in my blog post ‘Get Inspired’ added weight to this issue of early marriage by speaking about the importance of girls getting an education not just for the sake of knowledge but also for safety.
[I]t’s not just learning, but in a way a protection for them, for their independence, for their own personality, to have that identity of being themselves. Because once they get married at such an early age, they do not get the opportunity to fulfill their dreams and go forward in their lives.(Malala)
Mazoon also spoke about her first hand experiences in the Zaatari refugee camp and access to education
Many girls think that education is not important. They think, ‘if I get married, that will give me my future and protect me in my life.’ When I was in [the] camps, I saw many parents and girls think that early marriage is better than education. But in my opinion, education is the best protection for girls and is the best way to help us in our future, because if we want to bring peace to Syria, we must be educated. Without education we cannot do anything. Who will rebuild the country, who will bring peace? We need education because Syria needs us.
Girls not brides also believe there is a clear link between education and marriage as they go hand in hand. The longer a girl stays in school the less likely she is to be married before the age of 18 and have children as a teen.
“Education is critical to help girls stay in school and out of marriage”.
So what happens when you educate a girl? Everything!
Care. (2016). Barriers to Education. Retrieved from: http://www.care.org/our-work/education/girls-education/barriers-education
CNN. (2013). No Sanctuary for Syria’s female refugees. Retrieved from: http://edition.cnn.com/2013/06/26/world/meast/syria-refugees-child-brides/
CNN. (2013). By the numbers: Benefits of educating girls. Retrieved from: http://edition.cnn.com/2013/06/11/world/gallery/girls-education/index.html