Samson Fled Syria in the Dead of Night

When ISIS fighters came to Samson's street, his mom told her 10-year-old boy to run and hide.

"I watched them set fire to burn down our house," said Samson.

That night, Samson and his family fled from Syria to Jordan. To be safe. To try to hope again. Like 90% of refugees, Samson's family does not live in a refugee camp. They live "on their own" in the southern port city...MORE

From Child Bride to Star Student

Rahaf lives in Mleeh — a far-flung village in rural Jordan. Life can be hard here. It's hot and dusty. Water is scarce. And people have to work hard to eke out a living.

Most families move around a lot to find seasonal work in farming. Which makes it pretty much impossible for kids to stay in school. There's also a lot of pressure on impoverished families to marry their daughter off as soon as possible to a man who can provide for her, even if he's 20 (or even 30!) years older.

Families who cannot afford to feed or educate their daughter are sometimes faced with the...MORE

Way to Go, Graduates!

We have 400 reasons to celebrate this month...

...because 400 wonderful young men and women just graduated from our Non-Formal Education (NFE) program in Jordan!

This alternative learning program enables out-of-school youth to continue their education to the compulsory 10th grade level and continue on to vocational training or re-enroll in the formal education system.

These young men and women are in search of a significant life and a circle of people who believe in them. They have dreams, but without an education it is almost impossible to move from...MORE

A New Beginning for Noor

Noor dreaded going to school. She woke up every morning with a pit in her stomach.

Her family didn't have a lot of money. And she was very shy, so she had trouble fitting in with the other girls. Noor didn't really have any friends. And to make matters worse – some of the older girls had been bullying her for months.

This painful rejection from her classmates sapped her energy and affected her grades tremendously. She became deeply depressed and eventually dropped out of school, which isolated her even more.

When we first met Noor at our alternative education...MORE

The Creativity Fund Committee

At the startup of the Za'atari Refugee Camp in 2012 our answer to a single question made all the difference in our experience there for the next 6 years: Are refugees a problem or a solution? We chose the latter – refugees are people, like us, with solutions. They just don't live at their usual home anymore.

We (Jordanian staff and Syrian volunteers) dreamed up very ambitious plans for youth-led activities in a Youth Center (that we would have to build!) in Za'atari Refugee Camp – a place where everyone already knew resources were scarce. Impossible! Really?...MORE

Second Chance For Hassan

Hassan lives in a rural farming community in Jordan. His dad died when he was young, so Hassan and his brothers dropped out of school to work on a local farm.

This was the only choice that stood between his family and starvation.

"I dropped out of school in the ninth grade because I cared more about providing for my family than going to school," said Hassan.

Hassan comes from a family of farmers...MORE

Beyond Her A, B, C's

Every school day, Ala'a wakes up her younger sister Hurayah. Together they get ready and walk to our center in rural Jordan. Here these two teen girls have learned to read and write. They've discovered a passion for art and accessory making. They've gotten a second chance at an education – and a life beyond the four walls of their home.

When Ala’a was in first grade, she came home crying because she was being teased and bullied by other kids. She couldn't take the constant rejection and refused to go to school again.

She not only no longer went to school,...MORE

A Champion at Strike Three

A family with no education. Strike One.

A family in need of a few more dollars, just to make it. Strike Two.

Quitting school to work in an aluminum window company. Strike Three.

Or is it?

Zakaria dropped out at age 14 to get those few more dollars for his family. Working all day bending aluminum into window frames for clients’ kitchens left him no time for friends. Or for school. Shy. And quiet-spoken.

His employer, Abdullah, also had Strike Three against him. He went to work at an early age instead of going to school, and he...MORE

The Aqaba Project

You might remember Manal. We introduced you to her last summer. She survived a hellish journey from Syria and narrowly missed being sold into early marriage – and an equally bleak future.

Manal is from Aleppo, Syria. Her dad died a few years ago, and her mom became solely responsible for their family. When it became too dangerous to stay in Aleppo, they left with only the clothes on their back. Now they're living as refugees in Aqaba, Jordan.

There are no jobs...MORE

Buried Treasure

Dropping out of middle school to earn a meager handful of much-needed dollars for his family captured Hamzi in a very bad story.

A bad life-story that will cut his future down to a small size of struggle and second-rate opportunities. But it is also a story of buried treasure.

Hamzi was a good student. Math was his favorite subject – his passion. He had to put this passion on ice, maybe forever, when he dropped out to go to work in construction as a 16-year-old.

And it was hard to see his buddies going on to high school. He was left...MORE

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