Portraits series - Marwa

by Celine Semaan Vernon

“I was in seventh grade and I’d passed the official exams but I knew it was the end of my schooling,” says Marwa. “We are a family of six and my parents want to give a basic education for my other siblings too. So they couldn’t afford to pay my high school fees. That’s why I dropped out of school.”
When Marwa saw ANERA’s vocational education poster in a community center in Beirut’s southern suburb, she says it changed everything and renewed her dream of finishing school. She didn’t hesitate to apply. After Marwa got the scholarship she wanted to enroll in mechanical engineering. “But the supervisor told me this specialty was only open to men, so I chose architectural drawing,” Marwa explains. “Even though architecture was not my first choice, I managed to be the best of my class for all three years!”

She is now at the American University of Science and Technology studying mechatronic engineering.


Filed under: anera fashion activism from the ground stories we are home

What do you want to be when you grow up?

by Celine Semaan Vernon

This post is via BuzzFeed

The United Nations has registered almost 4.6 million refugees from Syria since fighting broke out in the country several years ago. Of those, almost 2.4 million are 17 and under.

The International Rescue Committee recently sent photographer Meredith Hutchison to meet with young girls in two refugee camps in Jordan and ask them about their hopes and dreams.
The project, called Vision Not Victim, saw the girls draw pictures of what they want to be when they grew up, now that they have escaped war.
Each girl then participated in a photo shoot based on the drawings to pose as their grown-up selves. They were even given copies of the photos to show their families and keep with them as a reminder of their goals.
Here are some of the photos, along with words from the girls writing as their future selves:

Haja, 12, future astronaut

Meredith Hutchison/International Rescue Committee

“Ever since we studied the solar system in primary school, I have wanted to be an astronaut. I would imagine myself up in the sky discovering new things. I love being an astronaut because it lets me see the world from a new angle. In this society my path was not easy — many people told me a girl can’t become an astronaut. Now that I have achieved my goals, I would tell young girls with aspirations to not be afraid, to talk to their parents about what they want and why, to always be confident and know where you want to go.”

Rama, 13, future doctor

Meredith Hutchison/International Rescue Committee

“Walking down the street as a young girl in Syria or Jordan, I encountered many people suffering — sick or injured — and I always wanted to have the power and skills to help them. Now, as a great physician in my community, I have that ability. Easing someone’s pain is the most rewarding aspect of my job. To be able to give them relief and make them smile — this is what I love most.”

Muntaha, 12, future photographer

Meredith Hutchison/International Rescue Committee

“Since I was a young girl I loved taking people’s photographs. I loved going to different events and documenting what was happening — both the good and bad. Now, as a professional photographer I use my images to inspire hope in others — to encourage love and understanding.”

Filed under: fashion activism from the ground stories we are home

portrait series - Adnan

by Celine Semaan Vernon

Putting a face on the anonymous 1.14 million crowd of in Lebanon.

In this new series in partnership with ANERA for our We Are Home campaign, we share from the ground stories of Syrian students in ANERA's Education program based in refugee camps in Lebanon. We Are Home helps fund this initiative. Proceeds from our sales will provide desperately needed job skills training for refugees in Lebanon.

Three years ago in Homs, Syria, a stray bullet from a sniper hit Adnan in his spinal cord. It put him in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. His family fled the war and moved to Lebanon, where Adnan had several surgeries to keep him alive. 

He started at a public school in northern Lebanon, but the building was not designed for students in wheelchairs. He dropped out.

Last year,Adnan joined ANERA’s program to pursue his education and his dream of becoming an electrical engineer. The courses are held in a friendly space designed to be accessible to the most vulnerable. He also gets reliable care and assistance and transportation to and from class.
"Everything about this program makes me happy," says Adnan.


Learn more about our partnership with ANERA and how you can join our cause.

Filed under: anera fashion activism from the ground stories we are home