How would you cope if you couldn't go to school?

Aya was forced to flee the war in Syria when she was just four years old. She didn’t see the inside of a classroom until she was eight. Aya is now ten - and finally in school in Jordan. She shares her dreams for the future - and the reality of life as a young Syrian refugee

Jordan is home to more than 750,000 refugees - that’s almost ten per cent of the total population. More than half of these refugees are children - most of whom were forced to flee the conflict in neighbouring Syria.

Aya (10) is just one of the many thousands of Syrian children now living in Jordan. She was forced to flee her home - together with her parents and eight sisters - when fighting began to find safety in the border city of Irbid. “I was four years old when we left Syria,” Aya recalls.

“We were living in my grandfather’s house. We moved to our new ‘forever’ family home and weeks later the war began. As little girls we couldn’t understand what war meant and why we had to leave our country.”

Aya’s family moved to the coastal city of Aqaba - where she was forced to stay at home until the age of eight for her own safety. “It made me sad to have two years pass by for nothing,” she says.

“I always dreamed of the day I could get to school and meet new friends.”

Back to School

Aya is now attending lessons as part of the ‘Back to the Future’ project. The project - a coalition between AVSI, Terre des Hommes and War Child - addresses the needs of children in Jordan and Lebanon denied access to formal education.

The vast majority of these children are Syrian refugees. Syrian children in Jordan are frequently unable to access education - either because they have never previously attended school or because of the educational disadvantages they experience as a result of the war.

Aya is one of the lucky ones who escaped these dangers. She receives extra support and homework help to make up for the lost years she was out of school - and is a fast learner. She wants to become a paediatrician and teachers award her for her good grades and excellent behaviour.

"I only regret that I got a 9.5 out of 15 for one exam," she laughs. "But I was very sick. I couldn’t prepare myself properly."

*Name has been changed for child protection reasons. Photo above is Aya*

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