Maisa, who is 14 years old, came to Lebanon three years ago with seven family members after her house was bombed and destroyed in the Syrian war. Her father is now stuck in Syria. She hasn't seen him for three years.
Like thousands of Syrian refugees, she can’t attend school in Lebanon. She attends classes for refugees at MECA’s partner organization Al-Jalil Cultural Center.
Maisa tells me, “When I see local students going to school every day, I feel jealous and get angry. I ask my self, why I am not allowed to be like them, why I am different? No one from my family can go to school. It is very expensive and some of us are not allowed because we don't have documents. I go the Al-Jalil Cultural Center every day for three hours. I learn math, English and Arabic [reading and writing]. During the weekend I learn how to use the computer. It is not enough, but still, it's the only place for me to learn something."
The seven members of Maisa's family are living in a tiny room. They survive through UN and Al-Jalil relief projects. Maisa thinks of herself as lucky compared to other children she's met who don't have a roof over their heads, and live in tents, and shower only once a week.
When I asked Maisa what she wanted to be in the future, she told me she's afraid of the future, and that she only wants to go home to Syria and play with her friends as she did in the past. Maisa has been forced to grow up too fast. She's missing the basic necessities of life that we take for granted. Her childhood has been assassinated. MECA and the Al-Jalil Cultural Center are trying to give her hope by making it possible for her to learn new things and help her imagine a future.