Today is World Refugee Day. For girls and young women in many parts of the world war and displacement are a daily reality. Today and every day, we must stand together as #OneMovement driven by the same vision – to see a world where every girl can reach her potential, speak out and make change. Here, 13 year old Joumana shares her experience of life as a young refugee in a new country.
"My name is Joumana and I am 13 years old. Unfortunately my surname is a refugee…
I was born in a village in Syria and I was hoping as everybody to live in my beautiful country but all my dreams changed in 2011 when the war started and the bombs approached our village. I lost so many friends, neighbors and family. Every time I saw a friend’s house being destroyed, I felt that all my memories were destroyed too. I used to panic.
My dad decided then to leave the country and move to Lebanon.
At first we struggled so much, we were complete strangers with no friends, no family, no neighbors, not even a school.
When I joined a Lebanese school I found it hard to make friends. I found it hard to forget about my old school, my friends, my life! I became introverted. I felt that everybody knows each other and I am the only stranger I felt that they all looked at me as a refugee, I couldn’t adapt.
I moved to another school where I found a teacher who didn’t judge me by my accent, who didn’t looked at me differently because I am different. She made me feel secure. This teacher happened to be a Girl Guide leader, so I became curious to join her Guide group and she welcomed me right away.
"I discovered that life doesn’t stop with a bomb, our dreams shouldn’t be destroyed by a war."
The moment I joined I remembered the joy of living and remembered how to laugh and how to enjoy the nature. I discovered that life doesn’t stop with a bomb, our dreams shouldn’t be destroyed by a war.
I took back my childhood with Girl Guiding and I started to dream again of a brilliant future. I decided to help other girls to find their life again.
I am Girl Guide and it doesn’t matter if I am Syrian, Lebanese or German, what matters is that I am happy and I feel alive again!"
Whether we meet in a school, in a community centre, or in a refugee camp, we are a sisterhood - #OneMovement - that supports each other and believes in a brighter, better world for all young people.
Share your messages of hope, tolerance and love this this World Refugee Day by using #OneMovement on social media.