On July 31, 2018, three Squash Dreamers girls flew from Amman to Hong Kong to attend the Hong Kong Junior Open. The three girls were Raghda, age 13, Eman, age 12, and Sabah, age 11. Throughout the following four days, the girls gained a tremendous amount of experience and insight into the internationally competitive squash world. Unfortunately, due to delays in receiving approval from the Jordanian government for a guarantee of the girls' UNHCR refugee status upon exit and re-entry into Jordan, two of the girls had to forfeit their first matches in the main event. Five hours after her red eye flight and arrival to Hong Kong, Iman played her match in the U-13 girls' main event against Xie Ka Wing of Hong Kong, who has played squash for five years. Despite her valiant effort, Iman fell 2-0 in a best of 3 games match. The next day, all three girls entered the plate event, but due to their relative inexperience against their competitors, none made it past the first match. However, the girls were not upset; they were inspired. For the rest of the day, they practiced and played friendly matches on any free court that they could find with new friends from Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei, and Malaysia, which gave them valuable opportunities to practice their English. The girls reflected on their play and analyzed matches in the main event to determine how they could advance their skills. Overall, the tournament has been a true learning experience; Sabah said, "If I make a mistake while playing, I can look at the others who are playing and learn."
The girls have also been able to explore Hong Kong and get a taste of a culture that is very from their own. All three enjoyed trying dim sum, eating an egg waffle, and slurping up bubble tea. They saw the Hong Kong skyline at night through the Star Ferry, hiked up 10,000 Buddhas, peered down at the expansive city from the Peak tram, and perused the wide array of shops. They feel extremely grateful for this experience and thank all of you who made it possible for them.
To support Raghdaa, Eman, and Sabah, check out our DREAMMAKERS program or subscribe to our newsletter to receive updates about them and our other participants' progress!
Tags: squash amman, squash programs jordan, jordan squash federation, urban squash, syria, squash programs, middle east, refugees, refugee crisis, child refugees, volunteer in jordan, volunteer abroad, syrias war, play like a girl, womens empowerment programs, girls education, jordanian girls, nouran gohar, girls in amman, youth sports programs, mohamed elshorbagy