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Sat, 23 Nov 2019 01:00 GMT

UNICEF's Makani Centres in Jordan Help Syrian Refugee Children and Host Communities

Politics

Mohammad Ghazal

Sat, 19 Jan 2019 07:35 GMT

Zeid, a 15 year old Syrian refugee and a resident of Amman, was reluctant to attend classes as he insisted on helping his father to make ends meet. He eventually dropped out of school.

After spending a few months working with his father, who is a carpenter, Zeid returned to school. It was not from parental pressure, but encouragement from aid workers at one of the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) Makani (my space in Arabic) centres in Amman, where vulnerable children, both refugees and Jordanians, have access to multiple earning support services and community-based child protection, an integrated approach under one roof.

"Zeid never cared about studying and going to school after we came to Jordan in 2013. He was disappointed and angry all the time. We used to force him to go to school, but when he turned 15 last year he stopped going to school and started working with his father," Um Zeid, a Syrian refugee from Homs, told 7Dnews.

"I attended some workshops in one of UNICF Makani centres in the Hashemi Shamali area in Amman and then I saw many children who went to the centre after school for extra lessons or for attending some life skills lessons. I asked Zeid to attend these workshops and after a few weeks he told me he wants to go back to school and now he is back to school. He is more encouraged and optimistic now thanks to the classes he attended at the centre," Um Zeid, a mother of three, said.

Makani is UNICEF's comprehensive approach to provision in Jordan linking educational learning support services, community-based child protection, early childhood development, adolescent and youth participation as well as life skills and innovation labs for children and young people, girls and boys, families and community members. The programme aims to promote and contribute to the full development and well-being of children, young people and their parents.

Shayma Musa, a Jordanian mother and a resident of the Zarqa district, said the project had benefited her children and helped her change the way she dealt with her children.

"My children were angry all the time and they resorted to violence to solve any problems they faced. After attending some workshops at the Makani centre, I found out that I was part of the problem, and that I was also resorting to violence when I was angry, and then I changed my behaviour," Musa said.

Musa said: "The workshops at the centre benefited parents and children alike and my children became more capable of expressing themselves and started to get better grades in school," she added.

Wafa Khalaileh, another Jordanian mother, said her children's grades significantly improved at school after they joined one of the Makani centres.

"My children's academic performance was weak but now their grades are excellent and they are doing very well. I thank all those behind supporting the project," Khalaileh said.

The UNICEF Makani project received fresh support this month when Germany launched a new programme financed by the German government through the German Development Bank (KfW) to support UNICEF's Makani centres over the next three years.

And over the next three years the joint programme will reach 28,000 vulnerable children in 32 Makani centres, located in refugee camps and host communities all over Jordan.

At the launch of the project, the German ambassador in Jordan, Birgitta Siefker-Eberle, said more than 80,000 school -aged Syrian refugee children do not have access to formal education.

"The future of these children depends on their access to education. It is absolutely necessary for us to provide them with the opportunities to learn and thrive. This holds true for all children currently out of school, be they Syrian or Jordanian," she said.

According to UNICEF, there are 32 Makani centres across Jordan, based in refugee camps and host communities throughout Jordan, aimed at helping both refugee children, with an estimated 80,000 school aged Syrian refugee children who do not have access to formal education, and some 30,000 vulnerable Jordanian children who also do not have access to schooling.


Middle East