Jordan: “I want to be an architect to rebuild my home and Syria”

"I am happy that I can go back to school to realize my dreams," says Marwa, 15 years old, wo is originally from Dara'a in southwestern Syria and now lives with her family in Zarqa, Jordan. Marwa is in 8th grade. Her favorite school subjects are math, because she likes to solve complicated problems, and English because she wants to learn a new language. She enjoys going to school. "It is the only way to fulfill my dream. I want to become an architect to rebuild my home and Syria," Marwa says. Her house in Syria collapsed. "We won't have a house if we go back to Syria someday," Hind Issa Mas’deh, Marwa’s mother, reports. 

In 2013 - when she was five and a half years old - Marwa fled to Jordan with her family. She lives with her parents and four older siblings. "It was a cold day when we fled Syria. It was hard for us to leave our home. I fled by myself with my children. My husband joined us later. We fled because there were several bombings in the neighborhood. We left everything behind because we hoped to come back soon," recalls Hind Issa. Marwa doesn't remember anything from their journey – she only vaguely remembers an incident with a tear gas bomb.

Hind Issa's family is still in Syria. Her brother died in the war. Twice a week, she keeps in touch with the rest of her family via WhatsApp. "It's still not safe back home. There are many attacks. Everything is expensive, and it is impossible to find a job," Hind Issa says. 

Marwa couldn't go to school for a year because it was too far away and too expensive. She would be in the ninth grade by now. During that year, she had to support her family at home. Her mother prepared meals to sell them. Marwa helped with the cooking. Her favorite food is Ouzi, Syrian puff pastries. Meanwhile, Marwa is in her third year of CARE's Cash for Education project and has been able to continue her schooling. The money was even enough to send her older sister Toqa back to school. She is currently finishing 12th grade.

Her older brother, Nader, dropped out of school when they came to Jordan. He was 16 at the time and started working in construction. He now works as a cook in a restaurant. "I was very stressed and had high blood pressure. I was sad and disappointed that I couldn't give my children an education," Hind Issa says. Asking CARE for support was her only option. Her husband has no job, and the income from her kitchen is not enough. "It was the happiest moment of my life when I could send Marwa and Toqa back to school," Hind Issa says. 

She would like to go back to Syria to see her family. But it's not safe, and the poverty is too great. "I wish my children to be healthy and happy," Hind Issa concludes. 

CARE’s work in Jordan:

CARE supports families with cash to improve children's access to education. The money helps families to afford the school bus and buy schoolbooks, pencils, school bags, and other things. If children have learning difficulties, they and their families also receive psychosocial support. With VSLAs and business development training, families can build a source of income. The goal of the project is a sustainable, economic, social and psychological strengthening of the refugees.