Nour: The girl named after the light in her eyes

By Ayberk Yurtsever

Nour plays with her doll. ©UNICEF/Turkey-2014/Yurtsever

Nour plays with her doll. ©UNICEF/Turkey-2014/Yurtsever

ISLAHİYE, Gaziantep, 8 May 2014 – The name of this ever cheerful Syrian girl is Nour. It’s hard to find anyone in Islahiye Camp who doesn’t know her. She is probably the happiest child in the camp, always smiling and playing with her birds and dolls. 

Soon after the outbreak of violence in her country, 11-year-old Nour moved with her family from Jisr al-Shughur in the Idlib province of north-west Syria and settled in Turkey’s Islahiye Refugee Camp. She has been sharing a tent with her mother, father and her brothers Mohammed, 17, and Ali, 16, for more than three years.

Nour holds her new toy. ©UNICEF/Turkey-2014/Yurtsever

Nour holds her new toy. ©UNICEF/Turkey-2014/Yurtsever

Nour learned to read and write at a special school for children with Down syndrome for two years in Syria. The refugee camp’s school does not have the capacity for children with special needs, like Nour. But she attends UNICEF’s Child Friendly Space.

Nour never misses the activities in the Child Friendly Space. She loves dancing and drawing the most.

Youth worker Ebru said, “Nour is one of the most special children in this camp. Our dance and music activities make her happy. She has  special interest in drawing.”

When Ebru is talking, Nour proudly interjects, “I’m both hardworking and smart”. Everyone smiles in response.

When asked what her three wishes are, Nour says that she wants the youth workers to be with her all the time, she would like to have a sister and that she would love to go to the seaside.

Like many children in the camps, Nour’s dream is to be a doctor when she grows up.

Nour regularly attends UNICEF’s Child Friendly Space in Islahiye Camp. ©UNICEF/Turkey-2014/Yurtsever

Nour regularly attends UNICEF’s Child Friendly Space in Islahiye Camp. ©UNICEF/Turkey-2014/Yurtsever