AMMAN, Jordan— More than 650,000 Syrians have fled to neighboring Jordan since 2011, making it one of the largest destination countries after Turkey and Lebanon for Syrian refugees.
Syrian refugees live in poor areas, where both they and the community face great economic and resource challenges. Unemployment rates are high and girls are commonly required to support the family instead of pursuing their education.
SOS Children’s Villages has joined with community partners to provide emergency programming for Syrians and Jordanians alike in three main areas: education, economic empowerment for women, and psychological and emotional support.
Education as a Catalyst for Change
According to the Migration Policy Center, more than 100,000 of the 320,000 registered Syrian children in Jordan are out of school.
“When these children first joined the classes, they didn’t know how to read or write, so we had to start by teaching them the very basics,” says Batoot Tuara’ani, who teaches a literacy class.
Many participating students have been out of school for years, due to the conflict, economic challenges or early marriages, which prevented them from further pursuing their education. Through the program, SOS Children’s Villages works to ensure these students develop the confidence and skills that will allow them to further pursue their education.
“It’s absolutely vital that we work with parents to convince them that the future lies in education. Education for girls, in particular, is very empowering. It can lift the family out of poverty. It can ensure much better prospects for the livelihoods of the girls once they become adolescents and adults,” says National Director, Muna Hamdan.
Many households are headed by women and most have lost their husbands due to conflict, or from migrating from one country to another. Through vocational training, these women boost their employability skills and are provided with economic support to find employment. The women are eager to learn both from the teachers and one another, and many hope to open their own businesses in the future.
“It’s necessary for women and girls to learn these handicrafts, so they can help their families by making an income with the new skills that they have learned, “explains Jameeleh Alaweneh, SOS Children’s Villages program coordinator.