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A more meaningful day

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Young people attend NRC’s training centre in Zaatari Refugee Camp, Jordan. Many of them have lived in the camp for over three years. © NRC/ John Cutliffe

Eirik Bonesmo Grimsmo (09.03.2016)

Skills training gives young Syrian refugees the opportunity to master a new trade.

It is community service day at the Norwegian Refugee Council’s youth skills centre in Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan. Students bring clothes to mend, either from home or from family and friends. The centre gives them the chance to help their communities, while also practicing what they have learned while being trained at the centre.

Learning new skills
Imad was a carpenter in Syria, but now he learns tailoring at NRC’s training centre. He has lived at the refugee camp for three years, and wants to do something useful with his time by learning a new skill.

"My arm was injured during the war and I couldn't resume my carpentry work anywhere, so I enrolled in the tailoring class," says Imad (18).

Education can be a stepping stone
About one in five Syrian refugees in Jordan are aged between 15 and 24. Without an education or practical skills it will be harder for them to find work, or be active in their society when as adults.

NRC’s youth learning programme has trained over 6,400 young people in Jordanian refugee camps, in skills like tailoring, hairdressing, electrical wiring and information technology. Students also take courses in Arabic, English, maths and life skills. NRC runs sports and development activities too, to support the young peoples’ participation in communities.

A specialised programme reaches out to marginalised and disempowered youths. It helps young people continue their education and prepare for their future. Education can be a stepping stone to a better life.

"I can't stay at home and do nothing"
Najwa (27) wakes at six to prepare breakfast for her three children, dress them for school and tidy their home. She then walks 20 minutes to a tailoring class at NRC's youth centre. She is excited to be learning a new skill while living in the refugee camp.

"I can't stay at home and do nothing. This is my life now. I fill my day with many tasks and activities. Tailoring is a nice skill to have, as I can use it in my future," says Najwa while mending a dress.

Community service day lets Imad, Najwa and the other students use their new skills to help family and friends in the camp. In the future, they hope to provide the same service to their communities back home in Syria.