Finn Church Aid expands activities in Za’atri, Jordan

Estonian NGO’s Mondo’s Kristi Ockba discusses with Syrian girls about computers in Za’atri refugee camp.

Finn Church Aid has expanded its operations In Za’atri refugee camp and opened a new multi-purpose hall featuring a computer lab. There is also a football field outside.
The new facilities are located in the eighth district of the camp, which is the most sparsely populated and has limited services. The building of the new site costs over 60 000 euros.
“We needed new facilities in order to increase the number of refugees we reach and because we have so far worked only in one district of the camp”, says Mohammad Al-Hadid, Finn Church Aid’s project coordinator in Za’atri.
The new facilities have a computer lab and two classrooms, which will host English and literacy classes. On a daily basis around 200-300 refugees will use the new premises. Previously Finn Church Aid reached about 160 young people per day.

New paths to information

Estonian organisation, Mondo, paid for the computer lab equipment. With the 39 000 euros Mondo  granted, 11 laptops and computer software were acquired. There are four Syrian teachers teaching 15-24 year-olds refugees how to use a computer. One of the students is 16-year-old Ruaa Yase Al-Salkhad.
“This is the first time I use computer. I have found it to be easier than I thought,” she says. “I want to learn how to use a computer and access information. Everybody needs to use computers.”
Al-Salkhad’s dream is to become a doctor and she says that she would like to use a computer to participate in online university courses.

Teachers and youth are excited

IT teachers Rabia Qasem Abu-Zeid, 27, and Salma Moh’d Al-Balhki, 23, say that the young people’s ability to learn has surprised them.
“We love teaching IT as the children are happy and so excited to implement what they have learned”, Abu-Zeid explains.
“It motives me in my work and makes me more confident.” Abu-Zeid, who worked as an IT teacher in Syria, says that because nowadays computers are used everywhere, it is important that everyone has the opportunity to learn to use them. Za’atri computer courses are attended by 40 students. Boys and girls have separate classes for an hour a day.
Over the course of three months, they will learn to use some programmes and the Internet.
“I don’t want to give them theoretical classes, but practical classes, because otherwise they will be bored”, Abu-Zeid says.

Text and photo: Terhi Kinnunen