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A day in the life of Warda

Warda is a 16 year old Palestinian refugee with a hearing impairment. She lives in Souf camp in Jerash, Jordan. Warda is very excited to be part of GAGE research group, and her mother is happy that she has this opportunity. She waits impatiently for GAGE sessions, and always gets ready ahead of time.

When Warda went home after the peer-to-peer training session, Warda explained to her mother and cousin that she would be interviewing her aunt and grandmother. Her mother and cousin are the only people who understand the sign language Warda uses to communicate.

Warda explained to her mother and cousin that the interviews are about the differences between her life as an adolescent and that of her mother and grandmother so that she could explore differences in girls’ lives over generations.

As a GAGE young peer researcher, Warda conducted three interviews with her mother, aunt, and grandmother. Warda used her mobile phone to record the. She was surprised to learn that her grandmother was forced to marry her grandfather without meeting him before their wedding day. Warda also learned that her mother was forced to leave school and to marry when she was only 13 years old, without even knowing who she was marrying. Warda was shocked to know that her mother was forced into marriage, it was the first time she heard about this.

Warda faced some challenges in conducting her interviews, especially with her grandmother. Warda had to visit her multiple times to explain the aim of the interview. Once her grandmother agreed, she had to go by herself and help her grandmother go to their house for the interview. When her uncle found out about it, he forbade her from doing the interview until she explained to him what she was doing and why. During the interview, her grandmother often stopped for prayer or to take her medicine. She also became tired and went to sleep before Warda could finish her questions.

As part of this activity, Warda created a photo story reflecting on what was most surprising to her during the interviews. She chose to take a picture of her mother’s wedding dress. Using photography as a tool, Warda wanted to talk about the life of her mother and those women who stay at home doing housework or embroidering. Warda wants to show how hard older women’ lives were, and hopes that she would not end up having the same life.

Warda is happy she did the interviews and knows more about girls’ lives in the past. She appreciates that girls today have better opportunities: they can receive education and don’t face the same level of mobility restrictions as in the older generations.