Noura Al-Abdullah, a 28-year old refugee volunteer in Jordan, shares how she made it to university and how she has been supporting other Syrian refugees all along.
“My family of 11 and I lived together through the Syrian war’s chaos. Despite the hardships, I completed my high school exams in 2012, amidst the terrifying sound of shelling and bullets. Determined to fulfill my dream, thankfully, I passed and earned my high school diploma.
The war escalated, forcing us to leave our home in Hama for a safer place. It was a tough time, marked by scenes of violence and displacement, cold, and hunger. In 2013, we fled to Jordan, arriving at Zaatari camp, where we lived in a very small tent, the opposite of our previous home. This made me feel miserable, I lost my home, my life and my chance of having a future.
My family and I then moved to Azraq camp, hoping for better living conditions, but on the contrary, it was tough, with an iron-roofed container and a floor of mud. This was during Ramadan, and the heat was unbearable.
This has negatively affected my mental health; I did not want to interact with anyone for months. However, an opportunity arose to volunteer with Relief International in health awareness within the camp, in which we taught refugees how to maintain their personal hygiene, and how to keep the camp clean to avoid health issues.
I accepted this opportunity, hoping that it would change something in my life. It rekindled my passion for life and education.
Despite living through the chaos of war, my determination to fulfill my dreams never stopped.
In 2016, I applied for the DAFI Scholarship. Though anxious, my hopes were high, and eventually, I received a call for an interview. Successfully obtaining the scholarship, I enrolled in Zarqa Private University, majoring in Software Engineering. This marked a new beginning for me, filled with joy and hope.
While in university, I got married in 2019. My husband, just like my father, always encouraged me to continue my education. In 2021, I graduated from university, a significant achievement made even more special as I awaited the birth of my first child.
Post-graduation, I worked in different temporary jobs, until I joined the Hope Makers Center with UNICEF, which organizes different activities for refugees such as entertainment and sport activities, computer courses…etc. As a volunteer in their Activities and Mobilization Programme I was responsible for coordinating such activities. This role provided me with a chance to impact young lives positively, which was inspiring.
In August 2023, I took a bold step and applied to become a refugee volunteer with UNHCR as a photographer. I succeeded in the interview and began my new journey in this role.
What motivates me to volunteer is the desire to make a positive impact through my work on the lives of vulnerable people. I believe that my passion for helping others which is rewarding by itself, shows that refugees can be contributors in the society.
Volunteering has boosted my self-esteem and allowed me to gain valuable experiences at the same time.
My message to people who like to volunteer is to be prepared for the challenges and responsibilities of volunteer work, use your skills to make a positive impact, and communicate effectively with others and those you serve, making sure you understand their needs and expectations.”
Noura’s story captured by: Batool Ghaith in Amman, Jordan.