Video shot by two young women in the media workshop.
Khaldiya, 17, lives in Za’atari, where she helps her mother take care of her 7 younger brothers and sisters. Her father recently left the family to fight in Syria after the youngest child was born. Below is the first video Khaldiya shot for the girls’ media workshop and some writing from her notebook.
I am a girl who has a lot of questions to ask. But she will never find an answer for even one question. I am a girl who has been tortured in childhood and is still being tortured. I am a girl who strives to gain everybody’s love. I am a girl who respected the kindness of parents. I am a girl whose eyes don’t stop crying except sometimes. I am a girl who is looking for a job so she can collect bad money and not take it from someone who deserves it.
I am. Who am I? I am a bird that’s looking for twigs so she can build a nest that can protect her and shelter her. I am a girl who is looking for somebody who can understand her and be loyal to her and answer all of her questions. I am a girl who has been let down by the people she loves. I am a girl looking for a heart that beats for her and feels her pains and sorrows.
Marwah, 17, returned to school this year, after 3 years out of school, to learn to read and write. She stood up to her father to go back to school. She was crowned Queen of Education by Save the Children activity center. She and her teacher try to get girls who are like her to go back to school.
She is learning to write, and below is some writing from her notebook, and part of a transcript from the first time we met her and she told us her story.
Don’t put limits to your imagination. Dreams and then dreams.
Then dream because one day the skies have to rain. Dreams are light and blessings. I am:
There is nothing that can make you miss the train because every train has its way back:
I am, I am dreams.
With education learn with pride and excitement. I am, I am. I always smile on Sundays. The wisdom of Sunday is that if you are suffocated from the world, don’t tell anybody. Because nobody can help anybody. Complain about your worries to the one and only. Oh kindest heart, I hope God makes you happy, because you are my only one.
Syria is wonderful, but to me it wasn’t good at all because there wasn’t anyone interested in us or who even felt the need to teach us…
I passed 7th grade and then stopped. I was around 14 years old. I told my mom that I wanted to stop reading because I didn’t learn or understand anything from it. I would always think about the future, the very far future, what happened with my life. Either I would stay as I am or try to go back to reading. I would think far away into the future, I would think and think until it was only about household chores and being able to secure my own home.
I tried a lot here (Zaatari) and they (staff at Save the Children activity center) tried to help me go to school but I didn’t listen to them... Even my mom would always encourage me to continue with my reading, but I wouldn’t listen
I used to see a teacher coming and going, reading with my sister. So I asked my sister how it was with her, and she said that she works with you from zero. She teaches you how to read and write from the very start and helps you with everything. I told my sister to tell her that I want to be taught as well and learn how to read. I decided to do this when Razan and Sarah (activity center staff) were away... I wanted to do something for them. I wanted them to come back to the center and see something that would let them hold their head up high with pride from the girls themselves, and so I set my mind to it.
My sister told her (the teacher), and she asked me if I wanted to, and I said yes. But at the time my dad was refusing the notion. I brought my mom in with me then. I said I wanted to read, and he said you didn’t care to learn to read or write in Syria, and you want to do it now? I replied I want to learn because I am thinking about my future. Otherwise it’s all for no reason, and no one will help me, not my father or my mother. I said all of this with force and complete conviction and courage. I put courage in my heart and stood my ground. My dad got angry a little bit, but I didn’t back down. He calmed down after. I said again that I want to think about my own future, you can’t help me always, and I want to read…
Now sometimes I become nervous walking to the board to answer questions. I make it a challenge between me and the fear. To overcome it and not let it come between me and my studies. I should be able to go up to the board without any fear or crying. I have to be strong and up for the challenge so I don’t get upset when the girls laugh at me when I don’t know how to answer a question. No, I have to be stronger than this and not allow anyone to laugh at me.
I feel like where ever I go, people say that you are lovable, you are lovable. Sometimes I say why am I so lovable? I don’t have anything in me to let people love me. Sometimes I hate myself.
But the best moment of my life was when I went back to school, and suddenly I came here (the activity center) and a lot of people were happy with me. I felt like my heart would explode from happiness… When I knew it was me, I was very frightened at first and I wanted to hide between the girls. I didn’t think that the girls would accept that I would be the Queen of Education. When they put the crown on my head I felt then that I was a role model for the girls and that I had put up a challenge for me and my education.
I would like to give advice for the parents. I want to advise the mothers who don’t have any ambitions for their girls, only for something like cleaning. For example, if a mother is illiterate and doesn’t want to teach her child how to read and she just wants her to be able to cook and clean a house. Even the fathers. Some of them have hearts made of rock and they are very harsh on their girls. They forbid them to go outside to join schools and centers.
Yesterday I was bothered. There’s this girl who is with me in the class, and her father recently refused to let her study anymore. I started to say things that I didn’t like to say but I had to say them just because I wanted the girl to get her education and to keep reading. It bothered me more than it bothered the girl. I was thinking about her all yesterday trying to find a solution but I couldn’t think of anything. Even though we (Marwah and her teacher) were able to convince a lot of girls (to go to school).
(advice to girls not in school) To be able to change. And to those who have a weak heart to become courageous and have a brave heart and be strong. Not to be afraid of education, to break the fear and nerves she has in her heart.
I finally recognized the meaning of: education is light and ignorance is darkness. If you put forth the effort, you will find the result, and if you walk the path, you will reach what you want.=