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Despite their current predicament, children who have fled the conflict in Syria and are now living in neighbouring countries dream of what the future holds for them and the International Rescue Committee (IRC) sent photographer Meredith Hutchison to find out.
Girls living in Zaatari Refugee Camp or in Mafraq in the north of Jordan were asked to discuss their goals and imagine their future personal and professional lives. Many of them had directly experienced conflict. Every girl designed and directed her own photo shoot, posing as her future self . Whenever possible, they were shot in actual working environments, so they could meet people in their envisioned field and truly step into their future.
Photos by Meredith Hutchison/IRC
Fatima,11, policewoman. "I am a kind yet serious policewoman. People are not afraid of me but call me when they are in trouble. I teach them how to respect and love one another. I fight for justice. I will help the innocent."
Amani, 10, pilot. " When I was younger, my brother always told me that a girl can’t be a pilot, but I knew deep down this is what I wanted to do. I finished my studies and found a way to get to flight school. Now, not only do I get to live my dream, but I also get to help people travel, to see the world, and discover new places."
Fatima, 16, architect. "When I was young people told me that this is not something a woman could achieve, and they encouraged me to pursue a more ‘feminine’ profession. But I dreamt constantly of making beautiful homes for families, and designing buildings that bring people joy."
Haja, 12, (left) astronaut. "I love being an astronaut because it lets me see the world from a new angle. In this society my path was not easy – many people told me a girl can’t become an astronaut. Now that I have achieved my goals, I would tell young girls with aspirations to not be afraid, to talk to their parents about what they want and why, to always be confident and know where you want to go."
Nour, 16, (right) 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 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."
Malack, 16, policewoman. "I’ve always wanted to be a policewoman because the police not only keep people safe, but they also create justice in society... I also work to inspire other young girls to become policewomen – supporting them to dream about their future and thinking about how they will overcome obstacles."
Muntaha,12, (left) photographer. "Since I was a young girl I loved taking
people’s photographs. I loved going to different events and documenting what was happening – both the good and bad. Now, as a professional photographer I use my images to inspire hope in others – to encourage love and understanding."
Merwa,13, (right) painter. " 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."
Fatima,11, surgeon. " I treat many patients, but the patient I care most about – the one that drove me to be a doctor – is my father, who has lots of medical issues. To be able to help my father, this makes me feel strong, powerful, and capable."
Bassima,17, dairy chef. "I have always found great pleasure in cooking. When I was young, I spent a lot of time in the kitchen with my mother – learning how to create different dishes...Now as a chef, I have my own restaurant where I create the menu, and a shop where I make and serve different dairy products like milk, cheeses, and yogurt."
Wissam,15, pharmacist. "Our neighbor in Syria had a pharmacy and when I was younger I would go next door and help. As the war started, I watched this pharmacist help the injured. When I saw this I knew that this was an important job and what I wanted to do. Now that I am a pharmacist, I see myself as a role model for girls and a leader changing the world."
Fatima,12, teacher. "I teach younger children to read and write Arabic. I am a very compassionate and kind person, and so a perfect teacher. I am strict, but I go out of my way to gently help those students who are having difficulties."
Sarah,15, fashion designer. "I am a famous fashion designer – creating chic clothing for women that makes them feel elegant. I design normal daywear that combines rough and soft fabrics, as well as formal wear and wedding dresses. I love fashion because it is a way for everyone to express themselves, and when it is done right – your clothing should make you feel special, beautiful, and confident."