"This job has improved our financial situation. I also personally benefited from it a lot. I did this to move forward in life but also to achieve some of my dreams and aspirations."
Rashaa Rifaai, 23, is from Damascus district in Syria. Whatever remained of her previous life there, was shattered by war and exile. She fled to Lebanon in 2014, together with her family, leaving her dream of completing her studies behind.
“Our life was beautiful. We were happy in Syria. I took my last year of high school in Syria and then the events escalated so we came here,” she painfully describes.
Rashaa had to wait another year before she was offered the opportunity to resume her studies. Thanks to a SPARK scholarship, she studied nursery education at the SPARK Institute in Zeitouneh, Lebanon.
“I’ve always enjoyed getting to know children’s personalities and learning how to take care of them. This degree will also benefit me later when I have children of my own and the job opportunities are plenty,” she adds with radiating confidence.
After completing her studies with a degree of excellence, Rashaa was offered a job as a Teacher’s Assistant.
She explains: “I was very happy with the news that I’d be working at the same institute I graduated from. It definitely impacted on my life positively. I’m an only child and therefore, my parents don’t have anyone else to rely on.”
Rashaa acknowledges that this job has also substantially improved her financial situation but, more importantly, helped her achieve her life-long dream.
The SPARK project helps 2,500 Syrian and disadvantaged local community youth to continue their education. Just like Rashaa, the project provides them with opportunities to tune up their aspirations and reach for even greater dreams.