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Sat, 14 Dec 2019 18:35 GMT

Financial Difficulties Affecting Education of Syrian Refugee Children in Jordan

Politics

Mohammad Ghazal

Tue, 15 Jan 2019 09:46 GMT

Ahmad Sadyyeh, a Syrian refugee and a professional painter working in Amman, says he greatly relies on his 12-year old son in his work to be able to make ends meet.

Sadyyeh, 40, is a refugee from Daraa who came to Jordan in 2013 and provides for a family of five, including his son Hosam, who is in the 7th grade.

"Whenever I receive an order to decorate houses or offices, I ask my son Hosam to help me as I can't afford to hire someone else to do the job with me as it's not feasible at all then … Most of the time, I ask my son not to go to school and to join me in decorating houses as he's the only boy I have and his two sisters are very young," Sadyyeh told 7Dnews.

The painter said he was upset that his sons often have to skip school but added: "The conditions are very difficult and I need to provide for my family. I don't make much money and I can't hire another worker.

I hope this will be for a limited period of time. Whenever there is no work I ask my son to study a lot and learn but whenever there is work to do I ask him to join me and sometimes even if he goes to class he joins me at work after school," Sadyyeh said.

Sadyyeh is like many Syrians who greatly rely on their children to make ends meet and overcome the difficult financial conditions Jordanians are going through.

Um Omar, a Syrian refugee who lives in the Zaatari camp for Syrian refugees, said her eldest daughter Israa married at the age of 17.

"I live in the camp with my sick husband, two daughters and two boys and our situation is bad. When a relative proposed to our daughter, we agreed because it was the right age for Israa to get married and because we face difficult financial conditions," Um Omar said.

"Israa stopped going to school when she got engaged and got married. She has new responsibilities now."

In Jordan, over 70,000 officially registered Syrian refugee children are still out of school, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

Financial challenges facing Syrian refugees in Jordan are some of the main reasons behind increased child labour and early marriage in Jordan, Hosam Ayesh, an economist, told 7Dnews.

"Child labour exists among Jordanians too … but among Syrians it's increasing," he said.

"Unfortunately, a large percentage of Syrian children don't go to school or have very low performance because they're affected by the difficult conditions their families are going through," said the economist, underlining the need for campaigns to raise awareness and also support refugees in overcoming the difficulties.

A recent study by the Higher Population Council in Jordan indicated that around 45% of Syrians refugees in Jordan are children below the age of 15, which is mainly attributed to the high birth rate among Syrians.

The study indicated that the percentage of Syrian women who get married before the age of 18 is high and stands at about 43% of the overall marriages of Syrian women in the country. This percentage was around 11.6% among Jordanian women below the age of 18. It showed that the level of education among Syrian children under 13 is very low and many of them do not go to school. The percentage of Syrians graduating from vocational schools was low and stood at about 0.4% of the overall number of Syrian students.

According to the study, Jordan is home to 1.270 million Syrians, of whom around 667,000 are registered with the UNHCR. The study showed that almost half of skilled Syrian workers are located in Amman and that they mainly work in restaurants and the construction sector. Around 61.5% of the Syrians working in Amman do not have work permits, the study showed.


Middle East