'Even though I'm a woman, I still deserve to be a leader'

Rim, a member of the Executive Committee of Scouts of Syria, explains how the war affected her country, the impact its had on her life and why championing girls' rights is so important to her...


Life in Syria differs depending on where you live. In most major Syrian cities, life is stable and people go about their lives normally.  However, difficulties remain. Armed groups are still present in certain areas, which disrupts life and terrifies people.

That’s why some Syrians leave the country. For the few cities and villages controlled by these groups, life is intolerable. People live under siege and risk being killed, tortured or raped.

The war has affected me in many ways. As an engineer, I used to lead an active life. I travelled between Syrian cities for work. I walked and hiked on the weekends and I travelled abroad for guiding activities.  The war affected my work and financial income. Several people I know died, others emigrated. Now, travel is almost impossible because I am considered a criminal because I am Syrian.

Despite this, I stayed in Syria and I am proud of my nationality. The war motivated me to do my best, improve my skills and support Girl Guides so we can enjoy a better standard of life.  I’ve been a Girl Guide since I was six and it has helped in many ways. I am no longer shy. Instead, I am a strong, confident woman. I have been given the opportunity to be an active citizen and get to know different cultures.

Girl Guide activities

 Sudan Girl GuidesAs a Girl Guide leader, I run our meetings, which involves making handicrafts, playing games, singing songs and participating in activities. We also discuss social issues focused on girls. For example, Free Being Me is a programme that helps girls build body confidence so they can be happy within themselves.

Most recently, I had the opportunity to travel to Sudan to train other Girl Guides on Free Being Me. I met leaders from across the movement, shared knowledge and leadership experience.

Girls’ rights have never been so important.  In my family, there is no discrimination, yet in society it is still difficult to be seen as an independent woman. It is hard to persuade people that even though I am a woman, I can still be a leader, a decision-maker and be able to create positive change.

Girls are the key to our future. They are capable of amazing things. Local communities just need to realise it. When they do, girls will have the power to change the world.

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