Vision Not Victim
Creating visions, creating futures.
Fatima, Age 11  |  Vision: Future Surgeon
In this image, I am examining an x-ray of a patient to see what is causing the pain in her chest. I treat many patients, but the patient I care most about is my father, who has lots of medical issues. To be able to help my father, this makes me feel strong, powerful, and capable.
Sifa, Age 15  |  Vision: Future Journalist
In this image, I am reporting on several current events in South Kivu for the national radio station, for which I am the Deputy Director. Every day I get to share news, facts, information and the stories of those people I meet with the world. I want to change the issues we talk about.
Fatima, Age 16  |  Vision: Future Architect
When I was young, people told me that a woman could not become an architect. But I dreamt constantly of making beautiful homes for families, and designing buildings that bring people joy. Now that I’ve reached my vision, I hope I am a model for other girls—showing them that you should never give up on your dream.
Ziraje, Age 15  |  Vision: Future Musician
In this picture, I am in the future and a famous guitarist, known across the world—a real superstar. I am intelligent, ambitious, I fight for liberty and I defend development. I am kind toward the world and give back to people through my music.
Fatima, Age 11  |  Vision: Future Police Officer
I am a kind, yet serious policewoman who is respected and a role model in the community. People are not afraid of me, but call me when they are in trouble. I teach them how to respect and love one another. I fight for justice. I help the innocent.
Jeanine, Age 16  |  Vision: Minister of Defense and Human Rights
My goal is to become Minister of Defense and Human Rights and lead the country in easing the pain of its citizens—to create a nation that is peaceful and developed. Here I am explaining a plan I have drafted to help victims of violence to my cabinet. This woman in the image—me—she has already helped many people and she is the hope of the Congo.
Wissam, Age 15  |  Vision: Future Pharmacist
Our neighbor in Syria had a pharmacy, and when I was younger I would go next door and help. As the war started, I watched this pharmacist help the injured. When I saw this I knew that this was an important job and what I wanted to do. Now that I am a pharmacist, I see myself as a role model for girls and a leader changing the world.
Here, Yvette’s mother reacts to seeing her daughter’s vision captured in a photograph. What followed were conversations about what it would take to support her daughter to achieve her dreams.

Watch the Video

What do you want to be when you grow up?

For many of us, it’s the first question we remember hearing. Yet in many parts of the world, girls reach adulthood without ever being asked about their dreams and ambitions. Imagine, for a moment, that you are one of these girls. Instead of pursuing your education and interests, you are expected to work day and night to support the needs of your family. You face immense risks, living under the threat of early marriage and violence. You experience harassment and abuse when you step outside, and are often isolated inside your home. You watch your brother’s opportunities expand, as yours steadily shrink. The challenges you face make it difficult to recognize your own value and untapped potential.

The program

Engaging girls is important – to reduce their exposure to harm and to expand the vital role they can play in shaping their own lives and communities. This is the reason the International Rescue Committee has developed Vision Not Victim as a central part of our work worldwide with adolescent girls. Through this initiative, we bring together groups of girls to explore their power and potential and cultivate essential skills. Paired with mentors from their community, each girl expands her idea of what is possible, creates a vision for herself, and develops a strategic plan for achieving it. She then designs and directs a photo shoot, posing as her future self, having achieved her goal. Girls share their photos with their families, friends and neighbors, inspiring many other girls to consider their own potential. The IRC partners with the girls to engage parents and community leaders in conversations that explore ways they can keep girls safe and equitably support them to achieve their goals.

Join a movement

Vision Not Victim has been piloted with girls in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and with Syrian refugee girls in Jordan, and we are growing in impact and reach. We are engaging new groups of girls in other countries, including young resettled refugees in the United States. We’re gathering parents, leaders and community members to view these images, challenge stereotypes and develop actions to protect and support girls.

Join us in empowering girl leaders across the globe—like those profiled here—who have clear visions about what they want to achieve and the insight and potential to create a better future for themselves and the world.

Photos by Meredith Hutchison.