We are so happy to announce that one of our Squash Dreamers, Sabah, one of our young Syrian beneficiaries, won 3rd place on Saturday 22nd October at the Jordanian National Squash Tournament!
Sabah is an extremely hard-working young girl who has really excelled in Squash thanks to her effort and that of her coaches. She began as one of Squash Dreamers' first beneficiaries over 5 years ago with her two sister Raghda and Rawan having fled their homeland, Syria, due to the war and has come such a long way in both squash and her studies.
We hope to see Sabah go on to use this skill in the future to help her access high quality educational scholarships and continue to make us all proud. For now, she continues to work hard at school and on her studies while training and using her squash skills to help coach the newer girls in the programme and be a fantastic role model for their future success.
A massive thank you to Squash Shop Jo for the special prizes and The Jordan Squash Federation, their president Amer, and federation manager Waleed for inviting us and continuing to support Squash Dreamers. Of course, a massive thank you to Hamza, Saif, Ra'ad and Reem our coaches, and a big well done to Sabah.
Thanks to your generosity, Fatima has found her fighting spirit.
"Before Squash Dreamers I didn't have much self-esteem, but through Squash Dreamers I've found my fighting spirit, I've grown to really love sport and feel so much more confident in myself."
Fatima left her home in Syria during the civil war. Her family left everything behind and moved to Jordan in an attempt to leave behind the atrocities of war and start a new life in a safe place. In addition to undergoing a huge uprooting having left her life behind in Syria, Fatima found it hard to excel at school, attending overcrowded classes on a shift-system, and with the start of the pandemic, only attending school 2-3 times a week. She struggled to find a way to express herself or enjoy her childhood with her days consisting of going to school and then returning home watching her brothers play outside while she stayed inside.
Thanks to your generosity, Fatima, as a participant of the Squash Dreamers programme, has found a supportive and loving community rooted in female empowerment. She has become a talented Squash player and good sportsperson, always ready to support her younger peers. Her English has also come on significantly and she is constantly asking for extra homework to continue to develop her skills.
When asked what her dream is, she replies "I want to become a paediatric doctor while continuing to play Squash, but the most important thing is that my family and friends are safe and happy".
Your support has already had an impact for Fatima and others like her. But the reality is, there are so many young girls in a similar situation to Fatima. While refugees continue to seek refuge in Jordan from Sudan, Yemen, Syria, and Iraq, COVID-19 has impacted society in a way that won't be easily fixed. Many families are struggling to provide basic meals and schools are overwhelmed leaving young girls often without the support they need to thrive. At the heart of Squash Dreamers is sustainable programming that makes a long lasting change in the lives of young refugee girls meaning that we won't just continue to support girls like Fatima for 3 months or a year, we will be by their side throughout their progression into young, confident and talented young women.
Today you can make your valuable support go even further by becoming a Dream Maker and joining our monthly giving program that funds the important work we do to assist young refugee girls in achieving their dreams. Your ongoing monthly support will fund:
Fatima found the community, support and education that she needs and deserved through Squash Dreamers, help us to help more girls like Fatima. Even the smallest donation can have the greatest impact. we thank you for your continued support and always welcome friendly hello's or questions via email or social media.
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.
Squash Dreamers is excited to announce that both Nouran Gohar, the women's world #1 squash player, and Mohammed El Shorbagy, the world men's #1 ranking squash player, have joined the Board of Directors as honorary members. Squash Dreamers is a U.S.-registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides young Syrian refugee and underprivileged Jordanian girls with professional squash and English training to help them apply to outstanding international and Jordanian schools.
Nouran Gohar is an immensely talented youngster fresh off the Egyptian line of premier squash players. She won the US Open and the British Open Squash tournaments for 2019. Gohar, a successful Arab female athlete, is a natural fit for our organization's goal of empowering young, refugee women through sport.
Mohammed El Shorbagy is one of the most talented players on the Professional Squash Association (PSA) World Tour. He has flown up the world rankings since joining the PSA in 2006. He recently won the 2020 PSA world tour to regain back his status as the number 1 squash player in the world.
We are hoping that Gohar and Shorbagy will help inspire our girls to work harder and become globally-competitive squash players. Both players and Squash Dreamers invite you to donate to support our work by subscribing to our newsletter or donating to our program!
Tags: world refugee day, squash amman, squash programs jordan, jordan squash federation, urban squash, syria, squash programs, middle east, refugees, refugee crisis, child refugees, volunteer in jordan, nouran gohar squash, mohammed elshorbagy squash, volunteer abroad, syrias war, play like a girl, womens empowerment programs, girls education, jordanian girls, nouran gohar, mohamed elshorbagy, girls in amman, youth sports programs
Squash Dreamers was so lucky to have Daisy V.L. as a volunteer in 2019. Her energy, passion for learning and music, and positivity made every English lesson so much more fun for our girls! The following is her perspective on her experience.
"When returning to Jordan last January having gone back to England for the holidays, I was very fortunate to find an opportunity as part of the English team at Squash Dreamers. The girls supported by this great organisation are kind, funny, intelligent and hard-working, so even after an hour of intense squash practice, they were always excitable and happy to be learning new things!
We started out by naming colours and singing Old MacDonald, and they continued to make me hugely proud as a group of incredible young girls who worked hard, played hard and were a true JOY to be around. We spoke, wrote and read full sentences, danced, ate cake, sang and made crowns. We celebrated Ramadan and new learning, we wore stars on our heads and we talked about our lives, our families, our friends.
Squash Dreamers gives these young girls the opportunity to just be children, be silly, laugh and smile. The programme not only allows volunteers to help the girls through teaching them skills and introducing them to new cultures but is also a place that offers so much to those who work with them. I learned new phrases in multiple Arabic dialects, I joined the girls for Ramadan, and I learned more about what it is to be a young refugee girl in Jordan.
Working with the girls and the team at squash dreamers is one of the best things I have been blessed to do and I can’t wait to go back!"
To volunteer with Squash Dreamers as an in-person or virtual volunteer, please contact us!
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, syrian war, play like a girl, womens empowerment programs, girls education, jordanian girls, nouran gohar, girls in amman, youth sports programs, mohamed elshorbagy
Eman, age 14, fled Homs, Syria with her family in 2013 after the crisis started. The turmoil of being uprooted from her home, traveling to an unfamiliar country, and finding a new home caused Eman to miss a year in school; although she should be in eighth grade, she is in seventh.
Eman started training with Squash Dreamers in 2017, and she was one of the three girls selected to participate in the Hong Kong Junior Open.
Eman says, “Playing squash changed my life for the better. I harness a lot of positive energy when I play, I have gotten to meet and know a lot of people because of it, and it enriched my life with experiences I wouldn’t have had without squash.”
Eman dreams of becoming and architect one day, but before that she hopes to continue playing with Squash Dreamers to become a competitive player.
To support Eman, check out our DREAMMAKERS program, or subscribe to our newsletter to receive updates about her 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