Girls making crafts at an ECHO-funded youth center in Jordan's Zaatari camp. Photo credit: © EU/ECHO/Peter Biro via Flickr. Licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.
Zahra is a 14-year-old girl living in Jordan. When she was five years old, she dreamt of going to school. When she was ten and in school, she dreamt of becoming a doctor.
At 12 years old, Zahra fled Syria with her family. As refugees, her parents encountered a life of unprecedented instability and poverty. Desperate to secure a future for his daughter, Zahra’s father arranged for her to marry a man in his 20s. Zahra protested, but she had no other options: She wasn’t in school, her family couldn’t afford to feed her, and she had no way of earning an income on her own. Given this desperate situation, she married an adult man before she was old enough to drive a car or vote. At age 14, she became a mother.