With an education, refugee girls can make their dreams come true

Education is every child’s right, including children affected by conflict, disaster and other emergencies. But right now, 75 million children and youth – predominantly girls – are out of school in 35 crisis-affected countries.

When a child’s life is uprooted in times of crisis, they can lose their home, their friends and even their loved ones. To ensure these children don’t also lose out on their chance to achieve their dreams and enjoy a brighter future, education must become a priority during emergencies.

Education is the most effective way to normalize children’s lives and help them recover from trauma, teach them how to stay healthy and safe, and ensure they don’t become a generation lost to early and forced marriage, sexual exploitation and a myriad of other dangers. The latter is particularly relevant to girls as they are more vulnerable to abuse and exploitation in times of crisis.

Syrian refugee girl standing in conflict zone.

In fact, during crises, girls are 2.5 times more likely to be out of school than boys, and that’s why Plan International is working to ensure education for all children in crisis, especially girls – helping protect them, along with their hopes and future opportunities.

Through our work in refugee camps around the world, we meet many brave and resilient refugee girls and women who, despite the hardships they’ve endured, are optimistic about their futures.

Meet some of these survivors who are benefitting from Plan International’s humanitarian response, and see why many of them believe education will help make their dreams come true!

Jamila – Syrian refugee

Jamila

“I dream of becoming an astronomer and an astronaut,” says Jamilia. “In Syria, I never really noticed the stars. When my family moved to the camp in the desert, I had nothing to do at night. We didn’t have electricity at first, so I would just sit outside and gaze at the stars. They shine so bright here! The Milky Way and the planets started to fascinate me. I want to become the first Syrian woman on the Moon.”

Jamila is currently residing in Jordan where we’re working to help tens of thousands of refugees exercise their rights to essentials, including education, job skills training and employment opportunities.

Bernice – Burundian refugee

Bernice smiles

“There is a difference between here and Burundi,” says Bernice. “Here, I am getting food and a place to sleep. It helps me feel safer here. I want to finish my education. I am in school at the moment. If I am still living in the camp when I finish school I want to work for Plan International and help other refugee children.”

Bernice is currently residing in Tanzania where we’re supporting thousands of refugees who have fled continuing civil unrest.

SEE ALSO: How we’re helping Burundian refugee children access their rights  

Halima – South Sudanese Refugee

Halima with her certificate

“My love for children comes from the struggle they are going through. I want to ensure that the children – some of whom do not have both parents – can still enjoy early childhood education like other children do in normal environments,” says Halima. “I go every day to teach them. They will be great in the future. When we go back, they may be the very children who will change South Sudan.”

Halima is a volunteer teacher at a Plan International-supported early childhood care and development centre at a refugee camp in Uganda, where she helps refugee children simply enjoy being children through fun, games and learning.

Hana – Syrian refugee

Hana

“Even as a small child, I wondered why some children have no hair. When I heard it was because of chemotherapy, I wanted to help them. I want to become a pediatrician and specialize in oncology. Maybe I will become so good that I will find a revolutionary cure for cancer.”

Like Jamilia, Hana is one of thousands of Syrian refugees living in Jordan where we’re working to provide humanitarian assistance to those affected by civil war.

SEE ALSO: Education in emergencies: Why education can no longer wait

Helping refugees thrive

Thanks to donors like you, Plan International is on the ground helping millions of displaced people from around the world.

Education is a priority component of our response to humanitarian emergencies, and we strive to provide quality education opportunities for girls and boys affected by humanitarian crises, with particular focus on adolescent girls, who are among the worst affected by disasters.