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Delivering innovative education and vital psychosocial support to refugees and vulnerable children

National context

Jordan has been a haven for refugees from across the Middle East throughout its history. Jordan is strategically located at the crossroads of Asia, Africa and Europe - and the small Kingdom has sometimes struggled to accommodate the large number of refugees entering the country. This internal pressure has had a negative effect on Jordan’s social and economic stability.

The effects of the conflicts in both neighbouring Syria and Iraq have increased pressures inside Jordan in recent years. Jordan currently hosts approximately 658,000 registered Syrian refugees - the second-highest refugee rate per person in the world. In reality the total may be twice that.

The majority of these refugees are children living in poverty who are exposed to a number of threats and rights violations. 

Situation of children

Jordan has been described by UNICEF as a ‘model country ... in the Middle East in protecting and promoting the rights of children’. The number of Jordanian children attending primary school has climbed to 98 per cent, and more girls than boys are now attending primary and secondary schools, and heading to university.

Yet the ongoing war in neighbouring Syria has posed significant challenges to the situation of children inside Jordan. The massive influx of refugees has had an overwhelming effect on the country’s social and economic stability - with widespread disruption of water supplies, healthcare and education resources.

Child refugees inside Jordan face a number of threats to their safety. Child labour is a particular problem - with many adult refugees denied full legal status and therefore unable to work, children are often forced into exploitative work. Refugee children also face significant barriers to accessing education – administration efforts to make schooling accessible are being thwarted by a lack of trained teachers, security concerns and poverty. 

What we do

The War Child office in Jordan was established in early 2013 in response to the Syrian refugee crisis. We are currently operating in Za’atari, Azraq and Jordanian-Emirati refugee camps, and with our local partners in the host communities of Mafraq and Zarqa governorate.

We aim to provide children with the opportunity to reclaim their childhoods and rebuild their futures after years of violence. Inside our network of ‘Safe Spaces’ children from all communities can play, learn and develop. We aim to achieve that through child protection, education, psychosocial support and youth empowerment interventions.

War Child Holland supports the work of War Child UK inside Jordan. 

Our projects

Time to Be a Child

This programme - funded by IKEA Foundation - sees ‘Safe Spaces’ established where vulnerable children can play, learn and develop in peaceful environments. The programme is designed to protect Syrian children and vulnerable children within host communities from abuse and exploitation and provide them with the skills and resources to foster their resilience and healthy development. 

Can’t Wait To Learn

Global programme to provide conflict-affected children with quality education - no matter where they live. The programme sees children play curriculum-based educational games on tablets to learn in an effective and fun way. In Jordan the programme is currently being trialled to respond to the urgent education needs of Syrian refugees and vulnerable children from host communities. Read more information about Can't Wait to Learn in Jordan. 

Voices of children

Salma’s Story 12-year-old Salma grew up in a village in southern Syria, living a peaceful, tranquil life with her friends and family until tragedy struck. She had barely finished second grade when the events of the Syrian crisis began to unravel, changing her life forever.

After what happened to their home, Salma’s family decided to leave Syria and head to Jordan in May 2013.The journey was long and arduous, with her family carrying whatever remained of their belongings and escorting her blind grandmother through rough roads and hills. On their arrival at the Za’atari Refugee Camp in Jordan, Salma broke down in tears at the sight of so many children at the reception tent - as it made her believe that Syria will no longer have any children left.

In July 2015, Salma heard of an organisation called War Child which takes great interest in children’s wellbeing and education; helping them to learn basic literacy and numeracy as well as providing psychosocial support activities.

She registered in the full programme and has been attending every day since it started. “I really enjoy learning maths and Arabic”, Salma said. “I made two friends, and I want to continue coming here."

“I love my teacher. I want to become one myself in the future.”