Stories of Change

Razaz (top) and Jameela (bottom) teach young refugee women new skills in Henna and Makeup Art

Persevering Through Passions: Jameela and Razaz

Beyond every refugee are stories, passions and hobbies that make them unique. Each newcomer brings to their host country new valuable skills that, when given the chance, can help make our lives a little brighter. This is true for Jameela and Razaz who live in our PURE* Group Home for Youth seeking asylum in Indonesia.

On paper, one might assume the two young women are from completely different worlds. Jameela is from Iraq and Razaz is from Sudan. When you look closely, however, you’ll find that the two women have one very big thing in common: they are driven by their passions.

Jameela is a self-taught make-up artist and talented student. On Saturdays, when she is not working on her schoolwork, she volunteers at the Refugee Talent Project, where she teaches other young refugee women and girls makeup techniques. By doing this, Jameela is not only helping other women develop new skills, but she is empowering them by revealing how talented and capable they are.

Like Jameela, Razaz developed her own passion and artistic talent, henna, at a young age. At the CWS group home, she felt compelled to share her talent with her peers and established her own henna class for the residents. She shared, “I enjoy sharing my skills. It makes me happy. I enjoy seeing my students improve their skills by the week. One of my students at [the] group home initially didn’t know how to draw henna at all. Now she can do it by herself.”

For both Razaz and Jameela, the title “refugee” has never stopped them from pursuing their passions while uplifting others. As Razaz stated, “Being a refugee shouldn’t be a barrier for you to learn new skills, as I believe that all women are strong and resilient enough to break those barriers.” With each brush stroke, these women are taking down barriers and painting new opportunities for all they encounter.

*PURE, which stands for “Protecting Urban Refugees through Empowerment” is a CWS-run program in Jakarta, Indonesia that helps unaccompanied refugee youth and asylum seekers navigate life in their new home. The program provides shelter and community and offers classes and vocational training to teach the youth life skills and help them develop a stable livelihood.

You can learn more about our work in Indonesia by clicking here.