We are overjoyed to share that Israa, one of our girls, has been accepted into the Kings Academy Summer Enrichment program. Israa is a 12 year old Syrian refugee who has been participating in the Squash Dreamers programme for 3 years alongside her sisters who all left their home country during the war. Despite the challenges she has faced, she remains a highly motivated young lady who works incredibly hard in both English and squash and never fails to do all she can to better herself and work towards her big dreams.
The Summer Enrichment programme which Israa has been accepted into is run by King’s Academy, one of the top educational institutions in the Middle East with a world class university counselling service that receives young people from around the world to study at their boarding campus in Madaba, Jordan. Israa can expect to take part in classes to take her academics to the next level while boarding with them, growing in confidence and sharing her sporting hobbies with others.
We are extremely grateful to King’s Academy for this incredible opportunity, one that wouldn’t have been possible without the support of our donors funding the Squash Dreamers program that has prepared Israa to this point. We look forward to seeing our other girls follow suit and apply for educational programmes on scholarships when they are ready which will, in turn, transform their future prospects.
For now, let us share our gratitude with every single one of our supporters that has enabled this to happen and our wonderfully supportive in-country team while extending our warmest congratulations to Israa.
As big sporting events return, people greet each other with hugs once more, and the months long lockdowns seem to fade to a distant memory, the girls and team at Squash Dreamers have been overjoyed to be back working together in person again!
With the pandemic putting further strain on Jordan, and the diverse refugee and host population living here, the need for programmes such as Squash Dreamers is made ever more clear. The pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns hit the Jordanian economy hard, and left families who rely on informal work struggling to offer a healthy meal, never mind sports or respite from the mental health impacts of staying at home for months on end!
What’s more, the already overwhelmed school system in Jordan was put under further pressure through online learning and a decreased capacity due to social distancing, meaning that even after a return to school, many students were only attending on either a morning or afternoon shift every other day.
The Squash Dreamers programme was forced to diversify and was able to provide a hugely successful online learning programme using tablets generously donated by our supporters. As well as online Squash and fitness sessions to offer the girls physical activity alongside a truly needed lifeline during the strict lockdowns.
With the world starting to get back to ‘normal’ again we are so grateful to have now returned to fully in-person sessions supported by extra online activities. Since October we have grown from 8 to 18 girls in our full time programme and began to support a further 65 girls from a local orphanage- all of whom are thriving in their new love of Squash and their new-found family at Squash Dreamers.
To continue to build an encouraging environment in which our girls can thrive, we have welcomed some wonderful fresh faces to our team- Daisy as director, Ra'ad and Saif as Squash coaches and Maggie as our English teacher.
All of the changes over the last few years has caused people to reflect on the importance of community, making the value of our work and mission ever more poignant.
We are here to make a real difference in the lives of young girls through sports and education. Whilst we cannot claim that every one of our girls will become world champions or get into Ivy League schools, what we can claim is that every girl will become a champion of her own life.
We meet each girl at her own point of need and truly value in investing in every individual. The positive impact of Squash Dreamers on the girls’ education level, mental health, physical health, future prospects, confidence and happiness is extremely clear.
The power to dream of a better future and the tools to make that a reality is perhaps the best gift you can give.