‘I wish I was at school’: Syrian refugee Asmah, 15, films her life as a wife and mother

Daughter Of Syrian Refugee Asmah In Turkey
One of Asmah's two young daughters at the family home in Turkey

Child marriage, Days in the childhood development calendar, Double-shift schools, Education Cannot Wait, Education in emergencies, Girls' education, Refugees and internally displaced people, Right to education, Sarah Brown, Theirworld

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

Asmah is 15. A Syrian refugee living in Turkey, she got married at 12 and has two young daughters.

“I wish I could still be in my country, at my school with my friends. My dream was to become an art teacher,” she says. “I feel heartbroken when I see my little brother going to school.”

Asmah 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 Asmah’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. 

“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.”

Asmah’s film is launched today on International Day of the Girl Child. The other three films will be released throughout October.

Asmah suffers from post-traumatic stress after her family escaped from Syria and fled to Turkey.

She often struggles to cope with the pressures of marrying early and taking care of her toddler and newborn. 

Asmah says: “It’s a very tough feeling – to have two children, no job and be living in a foreign country,

“I hope my daughters will have a better life. I hope they will go to school and we will be in our homeland, Syria.”

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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