Since 2012, 11 October has been marked as the International Day of the Girl. The day aims to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face, while promoting girls' empowerment and the fulfilment of their human rights. Read the stories of young girls who have been displaced but are not letting barriers stop them from focusing on their futures. 

Marwa and the Tiger Girls

Life in a refugee camp for women and young girls can be difficult. Education can often take a back seat, but not for the TIGER Girls! TIGER (These Inspiring Girls Enjoy Reading) is a UNHCR funded project in Za'atari refugee camp in Jordan that empowers girls through academic support and extra curricular activities that build confidence and skills.

The programme is supported by Syrian women, like Nawar in the picture on the right, who coach and support the girls to fulfil their goals, continue their education and deal with challenges they face in the camp, including early marriage.

Marwa, 12 years old, takes part in the TIGER  programme in Zaatari Refugee Camp.

"The best thing here is the electronic library. If I get a good education, I can improve my life and get a good job," says Marwa, 12. "The most important thing is education."

UNHCR supports displaced women and girls through programmes like this, recognising that they are vulnerable at every stage of their journey. Public education and awareness programs, livelihood projects and skills training help to empower them to build better futures.

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Syrian refugee and coach Nawar, 29, reads to Muna, Ariam, Amneh, and Hadeel in a mobile library in Za'atari refugee camp. 
© UNHCR/David Azia

Muzon studies in her home at Azraq camp. "Education is life" she says. © UNHCR/Ed Ou

Muzon's story

When Muzon’s family fled the war in Syria in early 2013, they briefly considered leaving her behind. The bright 14-year-old had been studying hard all year for her grade-nine school exams, which were just a month away, and her aunt urged the family to let her stay and continue her education.

In the end, her father decided the risks were too great, and so she fled with him and her siblings across the border to Jordan.

Now 17, her deeply held conviction of the importance of education has become a defining feature of Muzon’s life in exile. Not only has she continued her studies in Jordan, but she has also become a forceful and increasingly high-profile advocate for education among Syrian refugees, particularly young women and girls.

Her campaigning has drawn comparisons with Malala, Pakistan’s Nobel Prize-winning education advocate, whom Muzon has met several times and considers a personal friend. “She taught me that no matter what obstacles I face in life, they can be overcome.”

Saron's story

More than 1.5 million South Sudanese refugees have fled to neighbouring countries in the region, around half of which are located in Uganda.

With the future of an entire generation of South Sudanese children at stake and with few prospects of a quick resolution to the conflict, it is imperative that in countries of asylum like Uganda humanitarian and development partners come together to invest in the future of refugee children – life skills, education, peace-building and reconciliation.

Saron wants to be a doctor when she grows up, to help people.

One girl who has a goal firmly set in her sights is Saron. When she was forced to flee her home she left everything behind. Everything except her dreams. 

“I like math the most. I study hard so I can speak English,” says Saron, who loves going to school and wants to be a doctor when she grows up, to help people.

Together, UNHCR and H&M Foundation are helping half a million refugee children get back to school. By providing school supplies and equipping classrooms. To children like Saron, this means everything.

Eight-year-old Saron, from Yei, South Sudan, at the Ofonze Primary School in Bidibidi refugee settlement, Uganda.© UNHCR/David Azia

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