“There are millions of young refugees with the energy and desire and commitment to study and work. They want to contribute to the societies that host them and ultimately help rebuild their home countries.” Jolie wrote.
According to the UNHCR, the U.N. Refugee Agency, over 10 million Syrian people have been displaced during the war’s seven years. Civil war has ravaged Syria since March 2011.
A refugee is a man, woman or child at their most vulnerable: forced from their home, living without the protection of their state, and in many cases without the bare means of survival.
Jolie opens up about meeting two young Syrian refugee women with “contrasting lives”.
One, put aside her dream of becoming a doctor in order to help raise her siblings when her mother was killed in an airstrike. At 14, the woman married and became a mother. Many young refugee women are forced into childhood marriage to avoid extreme poverty, according to Freedom Fund.
The other young refugee fled from Syria to Iraq alongside her family when she was 16. She enrolled in an Iraqi school, and is now studying at an Iraqi university to become a dentist. Jolie wrote that the woman told her she hopes to eventually return to Syria to help her homeland.
“Investing in the education of refugees is the most powerful way we can help them to be self-sufficient” Jolie wrote.
This is not the first time Angelina Jolie has spoken about the refugee crisis. In January, the actress called for a political solution to Syria’s long-running civil war. Jordan, Lebanon and other neighboring countries host nearly 5.5 million Syrians. Lebanon and other neighboring countries. She is not alone either. In 2014, Malala Yousafzai won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 for her advocacy for young Pakistani women’s education. While Syria refers to refugee Muzoon Almellehan i as “the Malala of Syria” for her refugee education advocacy.
“We need education, because Syria needs us,” the then 18-year-old Muzoon said at the United Nations in 2016.
Jolie concludes her essay calling for them to be establish curriculums for refugee children. She also called for wealthier nations to “address humanitarian funding shortfalls. This is so refugee parents do not have to choose between food and schooling for their children.”
You can read Jolie’s full essay here.
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Author: Scarlett Victoria Clark
Scarlett Victoria Clark is Founder and Editor of SMART GIRL TRIBE and a multi-lingual journalist. She has also written for Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Women’s Health. When not writing she enjoys travelling and shopping for (more) heels.