In Jordan’s capital Amman, Hamzah, a ten-year-old Syrian child, will not be able to attend school when the summer term begins, as his family stopped receiving aid under a programme designed to increase enrollment of Syrian children in schools.
Hamzah's two siblings, Aya, seven, and Mohammad, nine, will also be unable to go to school after cuts in aid, according to Mohammad Ali, their father.
Ali, who lives in Hai Nazzal in Amman, said he used to receive cash from the Unicef financial assistance programme “Hajati”, but he was told that because of cuts in the aid programme, he would be receiving nothing.
"This is terrible. I used to get 20 Jordanian Dinars (JD) - $28.2 - for each of my children from the programme and I used the money to buy groceries for them, stationery and anything else they needed," Ali told 7Dnews
"I cannot work as I have severe back pain and I rely on assistance and after the cut in the programme, things have become more difficult and my kids will be unable to go to school this year," said the father of three.
Amneh Al Hemsi, a mother of four, said the JD20 she used to receive for each of her kids helped them continue going to school, "The JD80 that I received in total each month helped me a lot. I earn around JD200 per month as I clean houses in the neighbourhood where I live, my husband does not work as he is sick and any aid we receive helps us a lot," she told 7Dnews.
"I am concerned about the future of my children. I want them to study and to continue their higher education because we have been in Amman for six years since leaving our homes in Hama and it does not seem that our return to Syria is imminent," she said.
"The future of our children lies in education. We hope the programme will resume as many Syrians suffered after the cut in aid cut. I do not think that my kids will be able to go to school because they have many needs and we do not have enough money. As refugees, education is very important for us and our kids." she added.
Hajati is an unconditional cash transfer for vulnerable families in Jordan whose children are registered in schools that operate double shifts in order to offer education to the highest number of pupils. The programme is available to all children, irrespective of nationality or status, with each eligible child receiving JD20 a month during the school term.
After the decline in aid, the number of children benefiting from the programme declined from 55,000 to the current figure of 10,000. A study by Unicef in Jordan revealed that the programme is effective at supporting children’s education and their overall social and economic wellbeing
The study showed that 78% of children receiving Hajati attend school regularly. However, more than one in four children who no longer receive Hajati, now miss school.
Economist Hosam Ayesh said cuts in such programmes greatly affect refugees.
"Many Syrian refugee families will be in a position where they will have to accept to make their kids work to generate income and many others will be forced to marry their daughters at an early age," he told 7Dnews.
The risk of a child engaging in child labour rises 26 per cent compared to those receiving Hajati, according to the Unicef study.