Chasing a dream – the story of Haya

On International Day of the Girl Child, the inspiring story of a girl attending the child protection center supported by UNICEF thanks to German Government funding.

Anmar Rfaat
UNICEF Iraq/2021/Anmar
UNICEF Iraq/2021/Anmar
10 October 2021

Baghdad, 11 October 2021.- “A girl represents exactly half of society. Girls can do everything.” – Haya is a 13-year-old girl living in Domiz camp for Syrian refugees in Dohuk, with a clear mindset about her rights and her equal role in society, upholding all values highlighted today marking the International Day of the Girl.

UNICEF Iraq/2019/Anmar
UNICEF Iraq/2021/Anmar

"I love drawing a lot, here my talent has developed more, I can draw everything, in addition to learning a lot of things that help me develop myself and develop my education.” Haya shares these words while working on a new drawing in the Child Protection Center (CPC). She comes regularly to this UNICEF-supported center run by the Directorate of Social Labor Affairs from Dohuk Governorate. The center, established in Domiz in 2012 to respond to the Syrian refugee crisis and developed with financial support from the German Government, supports that every girl and boy in the camp can continue to reach their full potential.

The CPC is part of the child protection programme that UNICEF oversees in Domiz camp, and all staff on the ground is supervised by a team of social workers. The team provides mental health and psychosocial structured support for children and adolescents with the aim of providing them with new skills to deal with stress and protect themselves and their peers

UNICEF Iraq/2021/Anmar
UNICEF Iraq/2021/Anmar

Thanks to this Project, girls like Haya build their confidence and grow in a safe environment - "Here we are encouraged and strengthened, and we can know what we will be in the future. I would like to become a teacher. I am young now, but this is my dream."

The International Day of the Girl Child aims to focus attention on the challenges girls face to achieve their dreams and promote girls' empowerment.  “Today I am drawing a picture of a girl, and I see her beauty. There is no girl who is not beautiful. All girls are beautiful in their bodies and minds in their own way” says Haya.

UNICEF Iraq/2021/Anmar
UNICEF Iraq/2021/Anmar

Investing in empowering girls and young women and upholding their rights will return to a more prosperous future for Iraq. As Haya says, leaving behind half of the society is not an option if the country wants to overcome all the challenges – conflict, climate change, gender equality - faced by children in their daily lives.

#ForEveryGirl, a voice.