The following story is part of a series of stories narrated by youth deprived of family ties as part of the advocacy campaign activities for the “Empowering Care Leavers in Jordan” project.
When I was two days old, I was placed in a care center and lived there until the age of 18. Throughout my stay, I lived in the same house and was brought up by one mother until the age of 14, which affected me positively. Unlike the majority of girls in care centers who pursue “beauty stream” in Tawjihi, I pursued the scientific stream, which made my teachers surprised. After failing to pass Tawjihi, I took an “office management course”, where I learned fast typing skills that helped me find some jobs later on. During this period, I found an administrative job in a restaurant in Amman, but I wish employers could only look at our CVS just like any other candidate. Ideally, we should apply to a job just like any other person and be evaluated based on our qualifications. However, my manager refused to even look at my CV and the courses I took. The fact that I was an orphan was enough for him, and he thought I couldn’t have any other contribution. Thanks to the support of a civil society organization that supports orphans, I sat for Tawjihi again and passed. I studied in a college in Amman, but I made sure that no one found out I was a care leaver. I did not want to see sympathy in their eyes. No one found out I was a care leaver until the day when a project I submitted was accepted in a competition. The winners had to travel abroad and I had to get approval from a parent. Only then, they found out about my situation and that was what I wanted. I wanted to win because I am Suad, a girl whose brains and skills enabled her to win, and not her exceptional situation. I have recently started looking for any scholarship abroad. I don’t want my talents to remain repressed here. I want to be in an environment where I am treated as a natural person, and not a stranger in a place that should be “home”. I want a place where people support me because of my ideas. I don’t want to be in a place where they only want to donate for me because I am an orphan. I want to walk the streets without having to make up lies about my family’s origins to taxi drivers. One day I hail from tribe X, and other days I hail from Jerusalem, when I feel that the driver won’t go and trace my family’s origins there. Although my religion prohibits marrying a Christian person, I honestly don’t mind it. He may be a foreigner Christian, but at least he is better than a man from this society whose family refuses any relationship with me. We live here as strangers. People and officials only remember us in Ramadan. I think we have had enough Iftar banquets. It’s about time we understand that orphans are not hungry for food or banquets!