As a part of our education and youth programme, teenage girls in Azraq refugee camp dressed up as Disney characters and arranged an open day for children at our youth centre.
Had nothing to do
Azraq camp for Syrian refugees in Jordan was built for people who fled the war in Syria. The camp was established in April 2014 due to the influx of Syrian refugees crossing the border into Jordan. It is home to around 35,000 refugees, more than half of whom are young boys and girls living in the middle of the desert with little to do, some 100 kilometres to the north-east of Amman, Jordan’s capital.
Our education programme established the “social initiatives” programme, a project for girls from ages 13 to 15, to engage them with their local community in Azraq camp. Our educational activities not only educate children, but also aim to improve their emotional well-being.
When we organised an open day at the youth centre for children aged between 2 and 5 years old, teenage girls conducted recreational activities, such as dancing and playing with play-dough.
(From the left) Alyassar, 13, from Aleppo, Mahdi, 4, and Ghossoun, 14, from Dar’a, enjoy engaging in the activities during the open day.
Employing creativity and critical thinking
“Adolescents living in camps often lack opportunities to be imaginative and to engage with their communities,” explains Julie Chinnery, our team’s Education Specialist in Jordan.
“These activities give adolescents a chance to participate in analysing problems in their communities, which helps them to employ their creativity and critical thinking skills to design appropriate responses to the problems,” she adds.
“I enjoy every minute I spend playing here, especially playing with Mickey Mouse. I wish I could walk without difficulty like other children,” says Noran, 5, from Dara’a in Syria, who was born with uneven legs.
“I love everything in this place,” says Layan, 3, from Raqqa, Syria. Layan likes watching planes and waving at them while they are flying.” “Layan waves at the planes because she has an uncle in Germany. She really wants to go there one day," adds Layan’s mother.
“I love the music and the playing area,” says Mariam, 4, from Homs, who wants to become a doctor when she grows up.
Our programme offers camp residents the opportunity to complement their formal education with access to remedial academic classes like Arabic, English, mathematics, science and access to our organisation’s library. We also offer wellbeing support through recreational activities, from art and music to theatre, and painting.
Our education programme was launched in Zaatari camp in 2013, and in Azraq camp in 2014. We offer a range of educational and recreational activities and psychosocial support through our learning centres. We also support programmes that engage the community to help adolescent refugees and parents participate in projects within their community, like a cooking club, sewing club and recycling.
Additionally, the programme provides remedial activities for children to stay in school, as well as protective social and emotional support for all children in camps to engage in activities more effectively. We also run summer schools in both camps and host communities, inside formal schools.
Since the beginning of the education projects in the camps, around 12,000 Syrian school-aged refugee children have been supported by our teams in dedicated learning centres. Our learning centres are located in both Azraq and Zaatari refugee camps and are funded by UNICEF and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (NMFA).