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A Safe Space to Play and Learn

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Along with their five young daughters and son, Jassem and Ibtisam arrived in the Zaatari refugee camp in North Jordan one year ago after fleeing their home in Daraa, Syria.

Jassem and Ibtisam registered their two daughters, Ala’ and Jinan, in the RI’s educational program inside the camp and day by day they noticed the impact the program had on their children.

“Both of my daughters return to the tent happy and cheerful because they enjoy the recreational activities that the Relief International center offers and which is not offered enough in the formal schools,” Ibtisam explains.

“The existence of RI center in the camp is very important for children like my daughter, Jinan, because she is so active and needs a safe place to play and let go of her energy… and she does that in the center,” says Jassem. “We noticed that Ala’s English language skills have improved after joining this program. She used to face difficulties in the formal schools especially because of the high number of students which might reach 100 students in each classroom, and additionally, teachers in the RI center use effective ways of teaching.”

A RI employee asked Ibtisam if she recommends that other parents enroll their children in the program. “Of course, I do advise my neighbors and acquaintances in the camp to register their children in the RI program so they can benefit as much as my dear daughters did,” says Ibtisam.

RI’s team works in close partnership with parents. All teachers, case managers, and community mobilizers in the educational program are Syrians from the camp. Other staff are from the local Jordanian town. This has created understanding and trust between the staff and children as they are familiar and have been through similar experiences, whilst also providing employment to those living in the camp.

Sixteen-year-old Nada arrived in Zaatari three months ago. She immediately registered in the educational program offered by Relief International inside the camp.

One of our staff met her during recent recreational activities held celebrating the program’s one year anniversary.

“I enjoy coming to the RI center. Here I spend fruitful and joyful time in a nice and secured place. That is much better than spending my time around the camp and doing nothing,” says Nada.

Even as they escape the immediate danger of the conflict back home, Syrian children struggle to regain their place in school due to displacement. Educational programs like RI's give these students an opportunity to heal from trauma, catch-up in their studies, and look to a brighter and better future.

RI, in partnership with UNICEF, has been providing educational assistance since March 2013 to more than 6,500 children in both the Zaatari camp and urban settings who have missed up to two years of school. Learn more here.