Strength from adversity
Forced to leave their home in Syria in 2013 because of the conflict, Nabila and her family now live in Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan. Home to more than 80,000 refugees, Za’atari has become more like a city than a camp – with its own neighbourhoods, roads and markets.
Nabila’s memories of Syria are of a time living in constant fear. She remembers not being able to leave school until the bombing had stopped. “We were scared. Life in Syria was scary,” she remembers. “Sometimes, I feel like I’m still in Syria and I still live in fear because whenever something happens there, it touches me too.”
“Some people cannot forget what happened to them in Syria and this is why they still live in fear. They should go out, blend into society and work on improving themselves. They should make new friends and try to adapt to the lifestyle here.”
A voice for youth
Nabila is a natural campaigner. She has a single-minded determination to make the world a better place for children. She thinks deeply, speaks her mind and speaks it clearly. She’s a strong advocate for protecting children from violence, for making sure education is readily available and for changing outdated customs regarding child marriage.
“I was able to convince an old man that child marriage can damage a young girl. That a woman has to be mature enough to raise a child. A child cannot raise another. He was hesitant at first, then he started listening to me and he spread the word to his family, friends and neighbours. He wanted to stop every girl from getting married before the legal age.”
For Nabila, education is key. She understands the power it can provide. That with an education, a girl’s world opens.
“Education is a woman’s weapon,” she says. “I wish for everyone to pursue their education because it’s a beautiful thing, it can teach us so many things.”
“If I could change anything in the world, it would be access to education. I would make it better and available for everyone, because everyone needs to learn in order to have their future in their own hands.”
Safe you, Safe me
Save the Children provides a number of programs for children and families living in Za’atari refugee camp. ‘Safe you, Safe me’ is run for girls and boys aged between 8 and 18.
“I like playing football because it makes me feel good.”
The program is designed to build children’s courage and inner strength, to empower and protect children affected by conflict and violence.
One way it does this is through football.
Nabila says. “I always get excited when I’m about to play.”
“When I came here, there weren’t any kids. When the field was ready, I went with my siblings and played there. I really like football and some of my girlfriends like it too, but there are girls who don’t play because they think it’s a game for boys.”
Nabila is not the kind of character to let such perceptions dissuade her. She loves the mateship in sport and how it can help build character. Save the Children’s involvement with sport is helping children – and importantly girls – to recognise their strengths and to find their voice.
*Name changed to protect identity.