Nour recently started her apprenticeship at STEP with the Rock-Climbing Team and has been thriving whilst learning and applying new mountaineering and team leadership skills. At only 11 years old, Nour left her home and life in Qamishli in Syria to escape the war and join her father in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
“It was hard in a way, but good in another... Since my father was here (Kurdistan), it was nice, but I also had family and friends in Syria… so it was nice and also hard. But thank God here... it’s better than Syria.”
Now, she is 20 years old and ready for a new start in her life. Due to exceptional circumstances, Nour was unable to finish her Baccalaureate. She has recently started thinking about returning to school so that she may obtain this vital qualification.
A significant factor contributing to this renewed passion for her future was a breakthrough that occurred the first time she tackled a rockface.
Nour, like many other young women in her circumstances, has had her strength chipped away through many hardships in her life. In the mountains, she was able to rediscover her strength by challenging herself to conquer every mental block and complete what she had set out for. By overcoming her fear on that first climb, Nour has grown more confident about her life and future.
“The biggest thing I’ve learned is that I have power. I don’t need to have fear because nothing is too hard. I want to continue climbing because I like it, it has given me strength. Climbing helps people overcome their fears. I see that this could be useful for my future.”
Although under-researched due to a lack of funding and resources, these climbing expeditions are hoped to provide some sort of ‘adventure therapy’. The STEP Climbing Team hopes to achieve this by leading challenging activities in a safe therapeutic space.
Nour is excited to continue her journey with this mountaineering apprenticeship, to learn more about climbing, and impart her knowledge to younger girls, so that they may grow in their strength and power too.