Sophie McCann is a program director and advocate with experience in international development and human rights advocacy in the UK and internationally. She specializes in refugee and migrants’ rights and community-based mental health and gender programming. Sophie is part of the Lamp Lifeboat Ladder team focusing on organizational development and communications.
Razan: Teaching and learning have been key to assimilation
In observance of International Women’s Day, we spoke to Razan, a Lamp Lifeboat Ladder participant, teacher, interpreter and women's rights activist. In a series of blog posts, Razan discusses teaching experiences, views about women and the family and the importance to refugees of learning their host country's language.
Women and education
Razan discusses experiences that helped her become a teacher, and the importance of education and women’s education.
"I was one of four children and was the only child who was educated in my family. I went to university and became a teacher – I taught for 14 years in Syria before I left. I taught history, geography, religion and other subjects to different ages. I also taught Palestinian refugees living in Syria and when I lived in Jordan, I was a counsellor in schools for refugee children. My husband was a teacher in Syria for 20 years.
"Education is very important: it is more than a certificate gained at school or university. Qualifications do not necessarily give you experience. I gained power from the practice of teaching.
"My own life experience has taught me a lot and I learned so much going through the resettlement process. These experiences enable you to teach others – it doesn’t matter if you haven’t had a formal education.
"[Refugee] women are often at the centre of the family and carry a huge pressure to push the family forward and help everyone adjust to the changes they face in a new country. I encourage women to go to school to learn English. If women can speak the language, they will be able to find themselves and become happy, I am sure of that. You feel proud of yourself that you understand others and you are understood.
"I would like to share my knowledge and experience with women all over the world. I believe that behind every great man there is a great woman."
Razan lives with her husband and four children in Syracuse, N.Y., USA. She and her family are originally from Syria and spent time in Jordan and Spain before they resettled to the USA four years ago with the support of Reed Smith.
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