The Real Social Network: Dangers, Risks, and the Power of Relationship in Za'atari

“He was walking through the market, and another guy approached him and tried to stab him.”

The boys of Za’atari are never far from danger. By virtue of their energy, age, and current situation, they carry risk like a dangerous and unwanted burden. Small insults escalate quickly into armed assaults. Walking down the wrong street can become an accidental run-in with a rival tribe, an emerging gang, or a bored and aggressive peer. 

Zaid, an 18-year old refugee explains, “You know, when people first come here to Za’atari—when I first came here—no one feels safe. If you know no one around you, where can you go for help? Who can protect you?”

Like all the boys of the camp, Zaid had to make sense of his surroundings before he could start to feel safe in his dusty and temporary new home.

Questscope’s mentoring program helped him acclimate to life in Za’atari and build a network of safety and security—a true social network. By pairing Zaid with an older, established mentor from the camp, Questscope gave Zaid a positive role model as he forged a new path. And guiding his mentor is a case manager who ensures that all activities between the two are goal-oriented, which ensures Zaid and his mentor’s sense of personal growth and security.

Two weeks ago, Zaid realized just how important his mentor had become in his life.

“There was a problem with my father.” Zaid looked down as he said this, not wanting to discuss the details of his domestic issues. “I didn’t know who to call so I called my mentor. He helped guide me through it. He helped me figure out what to do.”

Zaid now feels safe after three months in the camp.

“It’s because I have friends. I have a network. The Questscope program made that happen.”

Help us make more boys like Zaid feel safe and supported by contributing today.

Questscope's mentoring program in Za'atari is a project funded by the European Union and coordinated by UNESCO.