Omaima Hoshan is a 15-year-old Syrian refugees in a Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan.
She says she has seen many of her young friends “married off” and is working towards educating girls in her camp about the importance of school and an education.
It’s a battle that UNICEF has been fighting as well. They’ve developed a strategy called ‘No Lost Generation’. Its aim? To “improve children’s access to quality education and strengthen the protective environment for children. It also seeks to expand national capacity and access to education and protection for host communities, both inside Syria and in neighbouring countries, by bridging humanitarian and development responses. Recognising the stress on the public school systems, the strategy also aims to significantly expand formal education in non-traditional settings, as well as non-formal education.”
Jordan, the country where Hoshan finds herself in, has a population of just over six million but has taken on more than half a million Syrian refugees since 2011. UNICEF records state that as of September 2013, a total of 187,675 school-aged Syrian refugee children were registered with UNHCR: 44,649 in camps, and 143,026 in host communities. According to Ministry of Education data, 83,232 Syrian children were enrolled in formal education; 56 per cent, therefore, were not receiving formal schooling.
While Hoshan continues to discourage her friends from missing out on an education, there’s still a long way to go and with no end in sight for the Syrian refugee crisis, it’s going to be an uphill battle.
Although she speaks out on child brides, Hoshan does intend to get married herself... only once she's finished her education.