Programme for displaced Syrian and Iraqi youth in Jordan

In desperate situations, parents sometimes turn to solutions that are potentially harmful to their children. Like arranging child marriages or choosing an education for their child. Stimulating and improving mutual communication between children and parents can help. That is why ARQ International, in collaboration with partner organisation Medair, developed a programme specifically for displaced Syrian and Iraqi youth.

Jordan hosts about 775,000 refugees, most of whom are from Syria and Iraq. The cost of living in Jordan is high. Refugees are not allowed to work without a permit, so they face challenges every day: to feed their families, pay for healthcare and provide for themselves in other basic needs. After eight years of crisis in Syria, most refugees in Jordan still live precarious life. They cannot get residence status in Jordan and cannot return to Syria until it is safe there.

Fear of radicalising youth
Parents worry about their children now that they have arrived in an unfamiliar country, with an unfamiliar culture. Refugee adolescent children have often been through a lot. At this age, they are at the beginning of their independence and are often still very impressionable. The risk of radicalising youth is a genuine fear that exists within refugee communities. Many parents do not know how to communicate with their children now that they live in a different environment and the children are confronted with new problems. Such as discrimination, bullying at school and different cultural customs.

An uncertain existence leads to sadness
The young refugees themselves are also worried about their future. Access to education is not a given, because of financial problems that families face or the absence of documentation and permits. Moreover, these young people do not know whether they will ever be able to return to their country of origin, or whether they will be able to build a future in Jordan. It makes many of them dejected and withdrawn.

"It is important for adolescent children and their parents to be able to communicate well together, to be able to make decisions together and at the same time to be respectful of each other."

Alaa Al-Zaghoul, Medair Jordan

Improving communication between parent and child
Together with Medair Jordan, we developed a programme that aims to provide support to both adolescent children and their parents. Essential components are the development of life skills: What do I find important in life? What choices do I make? How do I relate to my family, friends and society? And emotional and social skills: How do I communicate? How do I stand up for myself? How do I respectfully do this? The programme has been translated into Arabic and is being rolled out by Medair. ARQ International will remain closely involved.