World Refugee Day is an international day designated by the United Nations to honour refugees around the globe. It falls each year on 20 June and celebrates the strength and courage of people who have been forced to flee their home country to escape conflict or persecution.
World Refugee Day shines a light on the rights, needs and dreams of refugees, helping to mobilize political will and resources so refugees can not only survive but also thrive.
While it is important to protect and improve the lives of refugees every single day, international days like World Refugee Day help to focus global attention on the plight of those fleeing conflict or persecution.
One amazing example of a Squash for Development Organisation that supports refugees is Squash Dreamers, based in Amman, Jordan.
They work with young refugee and underprivileged girls, providing them with professional level squash training and English instruction.
They use squash as a vessel to work with the girls on their physical and mental health, giving them a skill they can use now, and in the future to play professionally and train others.
Through English, they support their in-school academics and prepare them for future opportunities including scholarships to private schools.
They want to see every girl succeed and they work hard to create a space of mutual empowerment in which they can thrive and grow, then going out into the world as talented, strong, well-equipped women, able to command lasting change in their own communities.
Daisy Van-Leeuwen Hill, Executive Director at Squash Dreamers, said:
“It started off with three girls who were known as the Squash Dreamers, and it grew from there really. “
“These girls were excellent squash players but were not allowed onto the Jordanian National Team as they were Syrian.”
“We set up the program and then started an education program alongside it teaching English, knowing that if girls were wanting to get scholarships into universities or schools they would need to be able to speak good English.”
“We currently work with 42 girls from a variety of backgrounds, Jordan is home to many refugees from many different places: Palestine, Syria, Sudan, Somalia and more. It’s a lovely meeting of cultures and nationalities.”
“These girls go to school and they come home and they watch their brothers play outside while they sit inside. With school the girls where getting two hours of school a day due to Jordan’s shift system with schooling. “
“During Covid they closed the schools and this dropped to every other day a week- which is not enough for the girls.”
“What we’re doing here is really to support them in their education side but also giving them the opportunity to come and play: working on their physical and mental health and for them to make friends.”
Squash Dreamers are currently fundraising for three of their girls to get to the UK to study at their scholarship programmes
Heba, Fatima and Aseel are three young girls who fled Syria and Sudan during the wars and are living as refugees in Amman, the capital city of Jordan.
Despite their extremely challenging circumstances, years of missed education and lack of resources they have been accepted into and awarded full scholarships to prestigious UK based summer boarding schools but they need your help to raise $7,100 to get them there.