A 15-year-old Syrian refugee, Nour, is standing in a classroom-come-hairdressing-salon in Lebanon’s Bekaa valley. She switches between answering a journalist’s questions and grooming the head of a mannequin. “Sometimes life can knock you down, so you need to be able to stand on your own feet,” the young girl, who is remarkably resilient and has a steadfast determination for success in life, says.
Nour is one of around 20 lucky Syrian and Lebanese girls and women who will study hairdressing for six months under the L’Oreal Foundation’s Beauty for a Better Life programme. They’ll earn an internationally recognised certificate for free if they’re successful. She has big aspirations: Once she’s trained as a hairdresser with L’Oreal, she’s hoping to open her own salon.
After growing up in Syria’s Idlib region, she was forced out by the intensifying violence and attacks by Regime forces. She’s hoping that this opportunity will eventually help her move on from that. “The certificate will support us,” she said after declining to reveal her second name due to security concerns. “We don’t know what could happen to us, especially me. Maybe I won’t be able to continue my education.”
Nora Jumblatt, the head of the Kayany Foundation
The salon where the training will take place sits within an all-girls school which was built by a Lebanese educational charity called the Kayany Foundation. “The (L’Oreal) academy gives them the chance to be able to take their lives back in their hands and build a better future anywhere in the world, especially if one day they manage to return to Syria,” the head of the Kayany Foundation, Nora Jumblatt, says.
Lebanon has the world’s highest share of refugees per capita. One in four people there are refugees, many have come from neighbouring Syria. The conflict in Syria has cost an estimated half a million lives, created 5.6 million refugees and displaced about 6.6 million other people. People in the UK are helping by sharing information like this online, to draw attention to the plight of the Syrian people, and donating to legitimate charities like Syria Relief.
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Featured image credit: L’Oreal Foundation’s Beauty for a Better Life programme.