"My life in Syria was normal. I went to school every day. It was beautiful because it was quiet – there was no fear. I lived like that for 12 years, then the war happened. I loved living in my country but I had to leave.

I stayed inside Syria as a refugee for seven months and after that my parents decided to travel to Jordan. My father said I’m looking out for my children’s future. If we stayed in Syria, we had no future or hope of education.

There were no schools – and my dad wanted us to continue our education. It wasn’t safe in Syria anymore. I felt sad leaving my country.
Bodoor, 17, is in 12th grade in the Azraq Refugee Camp. © UNICEF/UN0263759/Herwig


"When we travelled to Jordan we walked
for nine hours over rocks by foot. It was
very difficult. The sun was so hot."
After that we found a car and drove for ten hours. We arrived on 14 June 2014.

Here, life was so difficult. At first, we didn’t even have a floor in our house. There was only rocks and sand on the ground. There was no electricity, no water. We had to collect water from far away. After a year and half, the buildings were concreted and it’s now much better. The camp was under construction back then. 


Bodoor at the library of her UNICEF-supported remedial education centre. © UNICEF/UN0263760/Herwig

I’ve adapted to my new life as best I can. Put yourself in my place. It’s difficult, but I have to be strong. I have to think about my future. I believe in destiny, I can’t change it.

When I remember my home, I feel so sad and start to cry. Every time I tell myself I won’t cry but then I cry. I can’t control myself. 

I am lucky to go to school – many children didn’t get that chance. My favourite subject is science - specifically astronomy. I like space.

When I came to Azraq Camp, I was sitting outside my caravan and looking up at the sky. There’s no electricity, no lights, so the sky is really dark. I was looking at the sky and for the first time I could see the stars – so many stars - and the galaxy. It was so beautiful and amazing, and I decided to learn more about this phenomenon.

I’d never seen it before back when I was living in the city. I was curious, I wanted to know more about it. I Googled what galaxies are, what the Milky Way is about and that’s where I got my dream to become an astronomer.

Bodoor says when she looks at the stars and sky, she feels comfortable and happy because the stars are colourful and bright and give her feelings of comfort and serenity. © UNICEF/UN0263747/Herwig

I looked in books. I read books about the moon and every planet and about stars, galaxies and suns – and astronomy in general. And some books about asteroids. Everything in space! I’ve read all the books in the library about space and stars – I’m waiting for more. 

When I look at the stars and sky, I feel comfortable and happy because the stars are colourful and bright and give me feelings of comfort and serenity. Whenever I feel stressed or sad, I go outside and look to the sky. I feel really, really good. I don’t know why but I feel I am among the stars when I look at them and very far away from stress or anything sad. 

"It's my moment to escape from
anything bad happening on earth."
Bodoor in the science lab of her UNICEF-supported school. © UNICEF/UN0263728/Herwig

Why do people look at me like I’m a different species of human being? I didn’t choose to become a refugee. I didn’t choose to leave my country and live somewhere else, or in somebody else’s country. It wasn’t my choice.

There shouldn’t be any difference in the way people look at a refugee. For example, if someone is a Jordanian, or Syrian, or Lebanese – no matter where you’re from – people should look at us as human beings, not as outsiders. That should be the key. 

In our community, boys and girls are not treated equally. But there should be equality between boys and girls because there’s no difference between us. I have a brain, just like any boy. I can think, I can create, I can be whatever I want to be just like a boy.

Bodoor's dream is to be an astronomer and an astronaut. © UNICEF/UN0263758/Herwig

One of the things I’ve found that is very strange is that boys are allowed to ride bicycles inside the camp – the community allows it – but when girls ride bicycles, it becomes a shameful thing. I find it really strange that girls have to walk. 

Another difference is that girls have more responsibilities than boys. The girls have to go and collect water but the boys don’t. Girls have to cook and clean the house. Why is that? Why don’t boys have these responsibilities and why do they have the luxury of riding a bicycle around? 

The biggest challenge for girls my age is when their family makes them get married without completing their studies. They say studying is not good for girls or will not give them anything. The only way for a girl is to belong in her husband’s home.

But I say they are completely wrong.

With studying we get power and are more useful for societies. I want my dreams to be real. My dream is to be an astronomer because I like space. And an astronaut too. I hope to discover new planets and new kinds of galaxies.
"I want my dreams to be real"  
Bodoor holds a sign in the Azraq refugee camp © UNICEF/UN0263755/Herwig

It is an exceptional thing. No one here has the same dream. And I love to be exceptional and one of a kind. In our society no one has the same dreams and if I get this dream I would be the first woman from Syria to go to the moon.

I want to see our planet from the moon and what the earth looks like and I want to see the stars closer. If I get the chance, I see myself working in one of two places: at NASA in America or a university in Britain studying astronomy.

There is nothing impossible and I will try. I will study very hard to make it happen. If I don’t get the help or support I need I’m going to remain in the camp just dreaming. "
"I love to be exceptional and one of a kind."  
Bodoor and her family, including two sisters and three brothers, have lived in Azraq since it opened in 2014. Her name means ‘full moons’. © UNICEF/UN0263742/Herwig