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Afaf: Daughter, aspiring teacher, Syrian refugee

by Tyler Graf | Apr 27, 2017

Get a personal look into the refugee crisis - follow our blog to see what being refugees has meant for one Syrian refugee family. We provide medical care at their settlement in Lebanon.


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Afaf still dreams about becoming a math teacher one day, even though she's now six years behind in school and spends her days working in nearby fields for $4 per day.

Afaf was nine years old when her family fled Syria. She hoped to become a math teacher, a dream her parents worked hard to encourage and make possible. Her father, Adeen, wants nothing more than for his daughters to receive an education and pursue careers. The war put an end to that. Afaf hasn’t been back to school since.

One of the main reasons her family decided to relocate was because of the rise in sexual violence against young women. Afaf understands why her family had to flee, but life in the camp is hard. Without many friends or school, she is often lonely. Because she is so young, she remembers little of Syria.

She works the farm fields with her older sister, but the work does little to pass the time or inspire her.

Her only friends are the children who reside in the neighboring tents. Although it's better than being in danger in war-torn Syria, it's nothing like the lives they left. There is little to do in the settlements except watch TV. The days slip away. When it's rainy season, the camp becomes flooded and their thin tent walls do little to protect them from the elements.

“If the war hadn’t come, I would have gotten an education by now at least. But instead, I am working in the field for $4 a day," she shared.

Despite being six years behind in school, Afaf holds onto the hope of going back, and maybe one day becoming a math teacher.