From vulnerable child to power-girlAmina is a 10-year old Syrian girl who fled Homs with her parents, brother and two sisters. During their flight the family faced the danger and tragedy of a war-torn Syria - escaping the violence and bombing to end up as refugees in Baalbeck in Lebanon.
“We used to live in a nice house with a big ceiling in Syria…but we had to leave it behind”, Amina explains.
The family’s economic situation became increasingly worse in Lebanon as they spent all of their savings to survive. Amina was identified by a protection team from the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) during a door-to-door assessment of needs. The family is now receiving cash from DRC to pay their rent and Amina started attending the sessions at the Women Resource Centre (WRC).
Adolescence is a critical period in any young girl’s life. A series of psychological, emotional, social and physical changes shape her future for many years to come. For vulnerable child refugees like 10 year-old Amina the risk of child marriage and gender-based-violence adds further challenges. With the support of the US State Department DRC is working to break the cycle of conflict and traditional cultural practices to annul child- marriage passed from one generation to another and support the personal development and integrity of girls like Amina.
The sessions at WCR have had a great impact on Amina. She told her parents that she wants to focus on her education, finding a good job later in life to help them, before she decides to get married. On another occasion, Amina felt more confident about herself, and asked her parents if she could start going to the store nearby alone, explaining to them what she learnt about gender-based-violence and how being a girl does not make her less capable than boys. The financial training component of the course further prompted Amina to ask her mother to start saving money so she can continue her education.
Amina now continues to attend the WRC sessions with DRC, and participates with a greater sense of confidence. With continuous follow up and engagement with DRC’s programmes, Amina has the potential to grow into a self-assured, educated and empowered women, breaking the cycle of traditional limitations placed on women in her community, and empowering other women in her surroundings.
The United Nations Fund for Population Activities states that 1 in 3 girls is married by the time she is 18, and 1 in 9 is married by the age of 15. Millions more live in conflict settings increasing the risk of exposure to gender-based-violence. With the support of the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration at the US State Department, DRC implements unique projects to support young Syrian refugee girls in Lebanon.