Inside Jessica Kahawaty's Visit To The Refugee Camp In Jordan

BY Harper's BAZAAR Arabia / Apr 21 2019 / 00:18 AM

"Nothing breaks my heart more than a child who is not living their childhood."

Inside Jessica Kahawaty's Visit To The Refugee Camp In Jordan

An influencer, model, law graduate, TV presenter...the Lebanese-Australian beauty is many things, and humanitarian is definitely one of them. 

Widely known for her tireless charity work, the former Harper’s BAZAAR Arabia cover star has travelled, fundraised and been the face of campaigns as part of countless philanthropic projects. A regular collaborator with UNICEF, Jessica is a proud founding member of its first Leadership Council.

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The reason I’ve been silent. Preparing for one of the biggest humanitarian missions. This is my third and it doesn’t get any easier. Al-Azraq Refugee Camp, off the Syrian border. Tomorrow. "لم أرَ وردةً منذ وقتٍ طويل" – هذه هي كلمات ريان البالغة من العمر 13 عاماً والمقيمة في مخيّم الأزرق للنازيحين السوريين في الأردن. خلال ساعات قليلة، سأكون في مخيّم الأزرق للنازحين على الحدود السّورية لمشاركتكم قصص أمل، حكايات حسرة وللتّعرف على مواهب عديدة موجودة بين 13 مليون و500 ألف سوريّ ابتعد عن موطنه بسبب الحرب الأهلية في سوريا. انا ممتنّة لإعطاء هؤلاء الأطفال فرصة إيصال أصواتهم. فالهدف هو خلق الوعي والآمال بجمع التّبرعات التي يستحقّونها الأولاد النّازحين

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The cause of children’s education, health and quality of life is an important one to her, proven by her extensive travel to refugee camps in Bangladesh, Jordan and Lebanon (to name but a few) with UNICEF and the UNHCR. She also boasts long-time partnerships with children’s charities back in Australia.

She often uses her platform as an influencer to share her charitable missions with her 700k-strong fanbase, making her audience aware of causes close to her heart and causes meriting more public attention.

Courtesy of Jessica Kahawaty

Jessica studied human rights law in Australia and has said that despite not practising law day-to-day, she gained a perspective invaluable to her in her humanitarian endeavours.

Her latest project and third humanitarian mission, in partnership with UNICEF, has taken her to the Al Azraq refugee camp on the Syrian-Jordanian border, which hosts refugees fleeing from the Syrian conflict. 

Courtesy of Jessica Kahawaty

She took to Instagram to share her journey at Al Azraq camp, the stories of the children she met and the emotional impact that the experience has had on her. She shed light on the plight of children caught up in conflicts and after working with children at schools and kindergarten, highlighted the obstacles standing in the way of their education - including electricity shortages, the scarcity of scholarships and a lack of warm clothing, whilst also working with UNICEF to think up creative educational solutions. 

Courtesy of Jessica Kahawaty

Kahawaty shared several heartbreaking posts on Instagram, highlighting the conditions these children live in and how we can help. "A few miles away outside of the refugee camp, is a Palestinian neighbourhood built in 1948," she writes. "It’s one of the poorest and most desperate. A small kindergarten was build by UNICEF to keep the children off the streets. My heart exploded with how cute these 4 year olds were. Please don’t mistake their clothes for wealth - a lot of them are donations. There’s a huge waiting list for the kindergarten and it functions in 2 or 3 shifts to try to cater to the parents who have to work in the market."

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