Across most of Australia, the start of 2021 meant kids were back in their uniforms, lunch-boxes were packed, and classrooms were full again. Rafif is also back in school now – in Jordan, but it’s been a long and difficult journey.
After losing her father and older sister during the war in Syria, her family fled to Jordan, where they settled as refugees. At first Rafif and her sisters went to school there, but without enough money to support themselves, her sisters dropped out and got married – at just 15 and 16 years old. Rafif also had to drop out of school – but didn’t want to get married. Instead, she got a job selling socks.
“It was a very bad feeling to be working while all the other girls were in their uniforms walking to and from school,” explained Rafif. “I used to be very embarrassed being seen on the street selling socks, because I wanted to be with them at school.”
Rafif missed two years of school while working this job – until they heard about CARE.
In Jordan, CARE runs a program for Syrian refugees which covers their living expenses – on one condition: that their children go to school! This was the best news Rafif could have hoped for.
Rafif laid out her school uniform days in advance, and the night before her first day, she was so excited that she couldn’t sleep.
“I was so happy to see my teachers and friends again! There were also a couple of new girls at my class who seemed to be really nice. I love my friends and my school.”
Rafif has been in school ever since, and has big plans for her future:
“I want to be an architect so I can build homes for other refugees like me,” she explains. “I’m very grateful to CARE and the program that CARE offers because otherwise I would have been also forced to get married, and lose all my hopes and dreams.”
Thanks to the generosity of CARE’s donors, refugees like Rafif are getting a second chance at the education they deserve.
You can watch Rafif’s story here: