Daily Struggle of Syrian Refugee Girls


The crisis in Syria is in its fourth year now. With International Day of the Girl approaching on 11 October, CARE is highlighting strong young girls who had to flee their home country and are facing daily struggles in neighboring countries.

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Zainab and Farideh are two cousins who fled the war in Syria with their family to Jordan. They have missed one year of school in the war. The two girls try to make up for the lost year, so they study until midnight and get up at six o’clock in the morning to do their homework before the school starts. “The subjects here are different. I did not know anything about Jordanian history or geography before,” Zainab explains. “Sometimes going to school hurts,” Faridheh says. “It reminds me of my friends in Syria, my teachers, my old route to school.” These cheerful times are nothing but fading memories now. They have not received any news from any of their friends in Syria. 

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Hanan is a refugee from Syria’s brutal civil war. A bomb killed her father while he was selling vegetables on the street. Her younger brother was wounded by falling rubble when a blast hit their apartment. Hanan’s mother got her five children out of Syria. They now live in a slum area of Amman, the capital of Jordan.

Hanan is quick. She missed a year of school as her mother moved the family from place to place to Syria, hoping to find safety. But Hanan remembers numbers, can do simple math, and can write her brother’s name in Arabic on the same paper as the drawing. She’s alert and curious and interested in learning more about the world beyond her family’s bare apartment. It’s time for Hanan to be back in school. One thing in her favor is that her mother Rawda wants her to go. With no source of income and unable to work legally in host countries, many Syrian parents have had to send their kids out on the streets to sell gum, tissues, or other small items.

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Duha, a 12 year old Syrian refugee girl, was attending a flamenco concert held at CARE’s community center in Zarqa, Jordan, when one dancer asked to join her on stage and do the moves she had learned beforehand. “I loved the concert, I loved everything about it, especially the dancing which was amazing, and their smiles which I will never forget,” says Duha. “It is very important to have such events from time to time to entertain ourselves. Otherwise we would end up upset and depressed.”

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“I wanted all my children to attend this concert and benefit from the good time they would have,” says Duha’s mother Intisar, a Syrian refugee and a volunteer with CARE in Jordan. “I want my children to have fun, enjoy their time and fill it with happy memories that will help them forget the damage and war they saw in Syria.”

Aya fled Damascus to Amman two years ago with her families. Starting from last year, she started joining activities held by CARE. “Many bombings happened in our area, a lot of girls were kidnapped, then our house was bombed. My parents were afraid for my sisters, brothers and me, so we had to flee from Syria to Jordan about two years ago,” says Aya, “Nothing is as horrible as war is. When we arrived in Jordan I had lost trust in everyone. I refused to talk to anyone, not even to my own family. But starting from last summer I started doing activities with CARE during the holidays and on weekends. I learned how to play the org, I learned computer skills, and now I am participating in this theatre play that we all wrote and directed.”

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Sheruk, lives with ten other family members in Zarqa, Jordan. They fled from Syria after their house was destroyed. Their father is still in Syria. They do not know if he is still alive. 

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The sisters Aya, Rokaya and their friend nine year old Miriam live in the same neighborhood in Tripoli and spend a lot of time together. The girls have been friends ever since they knew each other in their hometown Idlib, Syria. They have been going to school throughout the year and just finished their exams. Aya, 12, the older one of the girls, wishes to go back to Syria and see her aunt and her cousins. The two sisters live together with their grandmother Nabiha and their aunt Sabah since more than a year. Their aunt earns around 13 to 16 US Dollars a day cleaning houses to provide for their family. In addition, Nabiha receives food vouchers from the UN.

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Chahed, 4, and Aya, 8, fled Syria a year and a half ago. "I miss Syria,” says Chahed. “It is more beautiful than here. I used to have more fun playing at my own home.” In Syria, Aya went to school. Since she fled with her family to Lebanon she has been out of school. "I miss my friends in Syria the most, I wish I could go back home, go to my school and meet all my friends again." Aya, her siblings and cousins are rarely allowed to play outside because their parents do not want them to disturb the neighbors. Her mother Mina and her aunt Samira say: "Although the host community treats us well we want to make sure they don’t have any reasons to dislike us. We feel guilty and do not want to bother or trouble anyone with our presence here.”