Success Story of a young Syrian refugee

After signing an MoU with the Higher Council for Youth in Jordan, Finn Church Aid has started to implement a variety of activities from educational to recreational. The activities take place in youth centres which used to lack equipment and support. Photo: Muhammad Smadi
After signing an MoU with the Higher Council for Youth in Jordan, Finn Church Aid has started to implement a variety of activities from educational to recreational. The activities take place in youth centres which used to lack equipment and support. Photo: Muhammad Smadi

The projects ran by international NGO’s participating in the Jordan Response Plan play a unique role in alleviating the suffering of vulnerable refugees. Each success story is proof of a possible brighter future.

Mohammad Mjarmesh, 15 years old, is a Syrian refugee. He left his home in Homs two years ago with his parents and four brothers.

“The journey was terrifying; shooting and bombs all around”, he explains.

When the family reached Damascus, his father realised that the city was not safe. He decided to take his family to Jordan.

“Jordanian soldiers met us at the border. One of them waved at us and said, smiling: ‘Come on, don’t worry. You are in Jordan now!’”, Mohammad says.

Finding a lifetime passion

Mohammad is now living with his family and grandmother in Marka, in the eastern part of the capital Amman. He attends a public school. When hearing about the activities of Finn Church Aid in a Marka Youth Center, he realised this would be his chance to have something to do in his leisure time.

Mohammad enrolled in a table tennis activity conducted by Bassem Hasan, former national team coach. The course lasted 30 days and aimed to provide participants with basic skills of the game. The other important goal was to build a relationship between the Jordanians and the Syrians.

“Now I can see the difference between before I learned table tennis and now, the sport has become my lifetime passion. I will carry it on and want to improve my skills: I want to be a professional one day. All I need to do is to always get ahead, to reach the next level.”

Keeping away from crime

The activities Finn Church Aid implements – such as football, badminton, photography and recycling – have broken the barriers between the Jordanians and the Syrians, and made these people friends with each other.

Mr. Nidal Sagair, the principle of the youth centre, emphasises the importance of NGO support.

“Youth centres help young people by putting them on the right direction and keeping them away from bad habits and crime. The refugees have an abundance of time and are occasionally intimidated by bad recruiters”, Sagair says.

And when one member of a family is involved in activities, it helps others, too.

“My younger brother looks up to me, and has decided that he, too, wants to take part in these activities. This happened after he realised how much my fitness has improved, and how I have gained new skills and made new friends. I love my life now, and I believe that there is definitely hope when I soon leave Jordan for my homeland”, tells Mohammad.

Text and photo: Muhammad Smadi

This story first appeared in a publication of the Jordanian Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation.