October 25, 2017

'Before the war we had an ordinary but wonderful life': Syrian refugee Rojin, 15, films life as a farm worker in Turkey

15 year-old Rojin spent six months documenting her life as a refugee

Rojin is one of four out-of-school refugee children living in Turkey who spent six months documenting their lives on video for Theirworld.

Rojin is 15. When she lived with her family in Kobane, Syria, she excelled in school and aspired to be a lawyer. But when they fled the fighting they lost everything. Rojin now works long hours on a farm seven days a week.

"Before the war we had an ordinary but wonderful life," she says. "The war has changed our lives drastically - everything is so much harder."

Rojin is one of four Syrians who documented their daily lives to highlight why all refugee children should be in school.

World leaders promised last year there would be "No Lost Generation" of children as a result of the Syrian crisis.

Watch Rojin's story

More than half of all Syrian refugee children in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan are being given an education – and a future. But close to 500,000 children are still waiting for that promise to be kept. 

As part of Theirworld's #YouPromised campaign, we provided video cameras to four Syrian refugee children aged 12 to 16 who are not getting an education in Turkey.

Their powerful short films highlight the injustice and dangers they face - including early marriage, teenage pregnancy, child labour and exploitation.

Theirworld President Sarah Brown said: “We can see from these films that the lack of access to education for children in crisis has had very serious ramifications on their lives. 

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You Promised

In early 2016, a promise was made to 1.7 million Syrian refugee children. World leaders pledged to send all those children to school. It’s the kind of promise you don’t break.

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"World leaders made a commitment to ensure children would not miss out on education due to the Syria crisis. However, this promise has not been upheld.”

Rojin's film is launched today, following the launch of Asmah's story and Bassam's story. The final film will be released next week.

Her story is a key example of why it is essential that world leaders uphold their promise to get every school-age Syrian refugee into school. Children who are out of education are more vulnerable to child labour as many work to support their family. 

Rojin is one of these children. She and and four other siblings work on nearby farms. Recently, her family was forced by the police to move out of the informal settlement camps they lived in. They now live in a house but to pay the rent, they must work longer hours.

"The work is very hard and the days feel like they will never end as the sun is hot" she says "but I do it to support my family." 

Rojin has now been out of school for three years and her dream of becoming a lawyer is slipping away. She says: "I always dreamt about being a lawyer. I never wanted to get married. I always wanted to have a career."

"Most girls dream about their wedding day but my dream was to stand in a courtroom and fight for justice. But as the war drags on my dream is harder to achieve."

Theirworld has been working in the region since 2012 to support Syrian refugees' return to education. 

We work with local partners to teach Syrian refugees Turkish in order to improve the quality of their learning in public schools. Theirworld also works with local teachers to train them how to best support children who have experienced trauma as a result of the conflict.

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