Girls Look to University from Za’atari Refugee Camp

“I will not let these circumstances dispel my dream.”

Aya, 16 years old, is trying hard to study, participate in classes, and is even starting to think about what she wants to focus on in university. With an interest in nursing, which has always been her grandfather’s dream for her, she strives to do well in school and make her family proud.

Aya is also a refugee from Syria and navigates the reality of displacement in Jordan’s Za’atari Camp, where she has lived with her family since 2012.

Last year, Aya was a shy girl who avoided interacting with peers or thinking about her future.

“I was very shy,” Aya said. “I couldn’t socialize with people, and I stayed alone even if in a group. But after I began participating in the educational programs organized by TIGER, my personality became stronger and increased my confidence.”

Aya, who wants to study nursing at university

Aya wants to study nursing when she attends university

TIGER, the UNHCR-funded These Inspiring Girls Enjoy Reading program, engages young Syrian girls in learning through mentorship, career counseling, community initiatives, and leadership and innovation activities. Individualized coaching enables self-paced learning, so participants like Aya can connect their school assignments with their own needs and interests.

Aya is not the only TIGER girl in Za’atari Camp preparing for university. Saja, who has participated in TIGER programming for nearly two years, wants to study the English language to continue serving her community like she has through TIGER leadership activities and community campaigns.

“I hope to study the specialty of translating the English language,” Saja said. “Language is very important—it opens up new horizons and many aspirations for us to find job opportunities and gives me strong motivation to help my community.”

As students prepare to take the Tawjihi exam—the last stage of secondary school—they are beginning to think about where to attend university and how to navigate higher education. Saja, Aya, and others recently toured Zarqa University with Blumont staff to learn about different areas of study.

“It was a wonderful visit,” Saja said. “This gave me motivation to continue my studies and succeed and gave me hope that I will not just sit at home after I finish school.”

Younger students are also preparing themselves for the future. 15-year-old Nour has decided to study medicine and is already active in the scientific community. She competed in a robotics competition organized by the UNHCR-funded Innovation Lab and, like Saja, is learning English.

“Studying medicine is very difficult,” Nour said. With help strengthening her language skills in TIGER courses, she is now able to “follow and search for more scientific resources that help me develop myself in order to achieve my dream.”

Nour is looking forward to competing in the regional robotics competition this March and is starting to save up for college.

“Studying medicine is very expensive, so I save some money in order to help my family when I go to university,” Nour said. “The economic conditions in the camp are very difficult and I don’t want to put pressure on them, but I will not let these circumstances dispel my dream that I seek.”


Blumont’s Za’atari Community Based Protection Program (CBP), funded by UNHCR, works to protect the well-being, rights and dignity of Za’atari Camp residents through integrated and sustainable programming focused on case management, community mobilization and community engagement.


Za’atari Community Based Protection Program (CBP)

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