For the past two summers, I have been working with young Syrian refugees at the Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan. I spent much of time working with Kickstart Joy, an organization that runs soccer programs for children at the camp. Former soccer professionals from around the world help train the children and promote a healthy lifestyle through sport. Of course, this initiative is not purely about soccer. It is about human interaction and reminding the world that these displaced people need our attention, and reminding the refugees that we have not forgotten about them.
The first year I was there, I noticed how the girls struggled to play with their heavy, flannel hijabs. They were constantly having to stop and adjust their headscarves, taking the momentum, and indeed the fun, out of playing soccer. Although I do not wear the hijab myself, it seemed that what these girls needed were special hijabs made from a lightweight and flexible material.
I returned home and frantically began drawing designs, visiting textile markets and meeting with tailors. I returned to the Zaatari Refugee Camp with 360 lightweight, breathable, colorful, athletic hijabs in various sizes and colors.
The girls absolutely loved them and after a day of trials, I organized a workshop to discuss their feedback and encouraged them to design their own sports hijab and a logo they felt best represented them. I plan on incorporating their designs and logo and returning to the camp soon with even more hijabs.