Rahaf lives in Mleeh — a far-flung village in rural Jordan. Life can be hard here. It's hot and dusty. Water is scarce. And people have to work hard to eke out a living.
Most families move around a lot to find seasonal work in farming. Which makes it pretty much impossible for kids to stay in school. There's also a lot of pressure on impoverished families to marry their daughter off as soon as possible to a man who can provide for her, even if he's 20 (or even 30!) years older.
Families who cannot afford to feed or educate their daughter are sometimes faced with the...MORE
I thought a lot about this letter before I sat down to write it. Where to start, when to start, and many other questions came to my mind. Then, I decided to start from the point when I realized that I was a refugee, living in a refugee camp.
I grew up in the Baqa’a Refugee Camp in Jordan, and I still live there today. Baqa'a Camp was one of six emergency camps set up in...MORE
We have 400 reasons to celebrate this month...
...because 400 wonderful young men and women just graduated from our Non-Formal Education (NFE) program in Jordan!
This alternative learning program enables out-of-school youth to continue their education to the compulsory 10th grade level and continue on to vocational training or re-enroll in the formal education system.
These young men and women are in search of a significant life and a circle of people who believe in them. They have dreams, but without an education it is almost impossible to move from...MORE
Should I stay under bombs? Or should I flee into the unknown?
3 million people in Idlib, Syria face this question today. Right now. Most are citizens caught up in a deadly contest for control of this ancient agricultural province — waiting out what the United Nations has called the last battle of the Syrian conflict. Intermittent cease-fires since September of 2018 gave some respite, but now fighting is escalating nightmarishly.
There aren’t enough doctors. There isn’t enough water. There aren’t enough...MORE
Jean Vanier first visited an institution for the mentally disabled in 1964. Disturbed by the sad and violent conditions he found there, Jean bought a small house in Trosly-Breuil, France and invited two men from the institution to live with him. Others soon joined. He named this first care home "L'Arche" after Noah's Ark.
Jean demonstrated that mentally challenged people...MORE
Sara could feel the beat before she saw the action.
She walked into a packed room with women of all shapes and sizes dancing to heart-thumping music. The instructor had an infectious energy and welcomed everyone to participate – even a nervous first-timer like Sara. It felt more like a dance party than a workout class!
Zumba is a Latin-inspired dance workout that’s one of the most popular exercise classes in the world – and one of the most popular activities at our Youth Center in the Za’atari Refugee Camp.
Mosab was diagnosed with autism as a child. He's smart and likes to learn, but he was having a lot of trouble fitting into his classroom.
Mosab is sensitive to sound and touch – which makes being in a crowded, noisy classroom really tough! He wasn't able to talk and play easily with his peers, which made him an easy target for bullying. And his teachers were always upset with him for "behaving badly."
Eventually, Mosab dropped out of school and his parents enrolled him in our alternative education program. But his challenges weren't over yet.
Noor dreaded going to school. She woke up every morning with a pit in her stomach.
Her family didn't have a lot of money. And she was very shy, so she had trouble fitting in with the other girls. Noor didn't really have any friends. And to make matters worse – some of the older girls had been bullying her for months.
This painful rejection from her classmates sapped her energy and affected her grades tremendously. She became deeply depressed and eventually dropped out of school, which isolated her even more.
When we first met Noor at our alternative education...MORE
Changes are in the air. Turning points.
Eight years of war in Syria have shown us the worst and the best of what one person can do to another. The worst? So many thousands of people have lost nearly everything that matters to them.
The best? People are coming together to help one another in their pain and trauma. Everyone is a wounded healer. Everyone needs everyone else. Acts of selfless, unexpected love are transforming us for a different future. Real turning points.
It is astonishing to see changes that are uniting two generations — those who knew Syria before 2011...MORE