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Inspiring Syrian girls share what they want to be when they grow up

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World leaders, UN and charity representatives are flying into London on Wednesday ahead of this week's major Supporting Syria and the Region conference.

The donor conference, the fourth of its kind, aims to raise $9bn for the millions of people affected by the Syrian civil war and refugee crisis which has spread to neighbouring countries and Europe.

One of the major issues the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and other NGOs are keen to address is the particularly adverse affects the crisis has had on women and girls.

It is estimated that 700,000 Syrian children are currently receiving no form of education at all, and there are worries that they will become a 'lost generation' unless something is done soon.

As part of the 'Vision not Victim' project, the IRC teaches girls around the world skills and gives support to allow them to "build better futures for themselves".

Even though their lives have already been touched by trauma and loss, many of them have ideas about how they want to help their country and communities.

The charity sent photographer Meredith Hutchison to find out what Syrian girls in Zaatari and Mafraq in northern Jordan want in their futures.

Each girl was got to design and direct her own photoshoot, imagining herself in her future career:

Nesrine, future police officer, 11

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I saw a police officer for the first time when I was 11 — before that I hadn’t considered it as a career. At that moment of my life I wasn’t even going to school — I just had no interest. But once I decided this was my dream, I studied hard and pursued it.

Now that I am a police officer, I help many people who are in danger or trouble, and I encourage young girls to get their education so that they can reach their goals.

Nour, future lawyer, 16

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I want violence against women to end. I want women to be able to make decisions for the community, and say their opinion without fear. I want our society to open up and give space for women to be whoever they want to be. This is why I decided to become a lawyer.

When I was younger, my mother told me I was courageous and truthful, and that I could be a great lawyer who fought injustice. I took her advice, and now am a respected lawyer working on women’s rights and defending women who are victims of domestic violence.

Merwa, future painter, 13

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In this image, I am a popular painter, working on a landscape in oils. When I was younger, painting was a hobby — but as I grew older I saw I had a great talent and went to art school. Now I have my own gallery where I sell my paintings and sculptures. My hope is that my artwork inspires peace in the world and encourages people to be kind to one another.

Rama, future doctor, 13

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Haja, future astronaut, 12

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Fatima, future architect, 16

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International Development Secretary Justine Greening, who will be speaking at an IRC panel on Wednesday ahead of the Supporting Syria conference, said:

These photographs show the children who will one day rebuild Syria. The UK is urging the world to make a choice in education to ensure that the conflict does not rob Syria's children of a future.

By giving them an education, they have the opportunity to become the doctors, lawyers and architects of tomorrow.

Check out more of the girls' stories in the video from Vision not Victim below:


All images: Meredith Hutchison/IRC


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