Finn Church Aid (FCA) is expanding its’ operations in Za’atri Refugee Camp in Northern Jordan and launching a new computer lab and a multipurpose hangar where drama and sports clubs can meet.
In addition to that FCA is about to implement a mobile phone repair course, to enable youth to develop a useful skill which on return to Syria may be utilised to access employment and earn some money.
The new computer lab is expected to increase the number of young women and men Finn Church Aid reaches daily to over 300 participants. These young people desperately need activities and opportunities for work.
In Za’atri and King Abdullah Park, Finn Church Aid targets youth aged between 15 and 24, predominantly as many other organisations focus on younger children. Finn Church Aid implements a range of activities, focusing on non-formal education, skills development and physical activities such as literacy, English, first aid, drama club, circus, barber courses and football.
”We work on any given day with approximately 163 people,” Finn Church Aid’s Humanitarian Emergency Coordinator Kate Bean says. ”We anticipate (the number) will almost double as our needs assessments indicate that computer information and communication will be very popular.”
The Syrian civil war that has now lasted for two and a half years, and during this time more than two million Syrians have fled to neighbouring countries including Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt and Turkey.
Jordan’s biggest refugee camp, Za’atri, is home to around 100,000 people. The numbers have decreased from earlier figures of approximately 120,000, as refugees have returned to Syria or have found work or a new home outside the camp.
Ending the war in the near future seems unlikely. The Syrian opposition is threatening to boycott peace talks, if there is no agreed schedule for president Bashar Al-Assad to step down.
The conditions at refugee camps remain harsh and at Za’atri there remain approximately 3 500 families who will have to spend the coming winter in tents if the caravans do not arrive in time. Although the conditions have improved from a year ago, the mood at the camp has become increasingly tense as the community realizes they will not be returning to Syria in the forseeable future.
“There has been a slow realisation for the refugees that this (camp) is going to be their home for much longer than anticipated.”
Text and photo: Terhi Kinnunen