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These 10 photos of a refugee school show what the media won't: hope.

This photographer found hope in a what she thought was a hopeless place.

These 10 photos of a refugee school show what the media won't: hope.

When Karen Kasmauski, a photographer for National Geographic, visited a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan, she expected to see what we see in the news every day: chaos, fear, and trauma.

After all, millions of Syrians have been forced from their homes as a result of the Syrian civil war, and half of the refugees are children or teenagers.

But despite the awful circumstances of the Azarq Refugee Camp, Kasmauski also saw hope. At the center of that hope was a group of young students she met, all of whom were seeking an education. So she decided to take some pictures.



These students are studying English in the Syrian refugee camp supported by the Malala Fund. All photos by Karen Kasmauski of National Geographic and used with permission.

The students she met are all Syrians who found refuge in Jordan and now attend remedial classes at the Relief International MakaniPlus Centre through a program funded by the Malala Fund. Malala Yousafzai, the teenage education activist who survived an attempted assassination attempt by the Taliban, believes that education can make a big difference for refugee kids.

"When I was a refugee in Swat Valley, I also dreamed to continue my education," Malala said.

The Jordanian refugee camp currently houses about 30,000 refugees, but it is only one-third full, according to Kasmauski.

The Malala Fund is dedicated to ensuring that every girl has the opportunity to attend 12 years of safe, quality schooling. And according to the nonprofit's website, one-third of the children in the world who are not receiving education live in war zones like Syria.

The school's head teacher, Jamalat, is also a Syrian refugee.

She volunteers her time to make sure that her students attend classes so that they're not left behind in school. Sometimes her classes can be as large as 50 students.


Jamalat and other teachers provide remedial classes so the students can continue their education in Jordan once they leave the camp.

She also provides outdoor classes to keep the students active.

Here, Jalamat turns a jump rope for her students.

Most of the classes consist of girls in elementary and secondary school.

Some of them, like these two friends below, are studying to pass the Tawjihi.

This is the secondary school exam in Jordan that would help them get into a university.

"[The students'] enthusiasm for learning was obvious, their teachers inspirational," Kasmauski wrote in an essay about her visit to the camp.


"Life inside a refugee camp certainly isn’t easy," Kasmauski said. "The girls I met often spoke of home with fond memories. But the remedial support they receive through the MakaniPlus Centre offers them hope and a chance to successfully graduate from the Jordanian school system."

"I came away from this trip feeling inspired and enlightened. These young women have faced overwhelming hardships, yet their passion for learning has only become stronger!" she added.


Kasmauski's photos are eye-opening, not least of all because they show the inspiration and hope that education can spark, even in dire situations.

Seeing these photos really makes me appreciate my education in a way I never did before — and it also reminds me why it's so important to welcome refugees into our communities with open hearts.

A student at the refugee school that the Malala Fund supports. GIF via Malala Fund/Vimeo.

Simon & Garfunkel's song "Bridge Over Troubled Water" has been covered by more than 50 different musical artists, from Aretha Franklin to Elvis Presley to Willie Nelson. It's a timeless classic that taps into the universal struggle of feeling down and the comfort of having someone to lift us up. It's beloved for its soothing melody and cathartic lyrics, and after a year of pandemic challenges, it's perhaps more poignant now than ever.

A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

But British singer Jacob Collier recently added his own layered harmony tracks to it, taking the performance to a whole other level.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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