Noor Jouma'a, Accountant
“It never crossed my mind that I’d be leaving Syria,” said Noor Jouma’a. At 24, she could not anticipate having to leave her country in the middle of her university studies to start a new life in Jordan, along with more than 600,000 others.
Jordan is one of the countries most affected by the Syrian crisis, with 89 refugees for every 1,000 inhabitants, and higher education is expensive, unlike in Syria where it is free. Despite this, many scholarship providers only focus on Syrian nationals, neglecting Jordanian youth. Noor was born and raised in Syria, but holds Jordanian nationality from her ancestors. She applied for scholarships for four years, but all required a Syrian nationality card. “I got depressed. I removed all my coloured clothes and kept only the black ones only, as this was the only colour I was seeing,” she explained.
But Noor kept herself busy during those four lost years. She worked as a private tutor for students in her area. “I started teaching myself English by watching YouTube videos. I invested in myself so that doors would open, eventually”.
And they did. Noor was accepted for a scholarship from SPARK, Al Fakhoora a programme of Education Above All to study business management at Luminus Technical University College. Still feeling a strong, personal commitment towards her fellow students, she kept her tutoring job during her studies. “I used to wake up at 3:30am each morning to study before I left my house, as the evenings were occupied by tutoring”.
Within her business management studies, Noor also attended classes in accounting which were taught by Mr. Obada Breik. Being the lead of the international accounting programme at Luminus College, he always had high hopes and great expectations of his students. Yet, no matter which challenging task he would ask for, Noor usually went beyond all expectations, professionally and personally.
“I felt like there was a human inside the class, an outstanding human!”
Quickly being amazed by Noor’s ability to absorb complex topics as well as her social commitment and respect for others, Obada Breik approached her after the first session. After she told him that she was in fact not majoring in accounting, but rather in business administration, Mr. Breik expressed his disappointment, stating it would be a huge loss. After this conversation, Mr. Breik’s words would not leave Noor’s mind. What if he was right, and the right journey would be a major in accounting, rather than business administration? Thoughtful, as Noor is, she considered the options for a long time, and eventually decided to change her field of study.
“Here is where all the magic started”, explained Obada Breik. Noor’s personal and academic skills quickly began to flourish in this new environment and she became a role model, not only because she was scientifically intelligent, but also because her social relations and respect for others were astonishing. In the end, she received the highest grade in the whole country in the Jordanian comprehensive exam!
Upon Noor’s successful graduation, her college – Luminus Technical University College – offered her a job in their finance department. Noor was delighted. “Education has and always will be my goal,” she said. “In five years, I’ll get my Master’s degree and start teaching my favourite subject, accounting!”. Noor is proof that obstacles exist to make us stronger.