150 Syrian youth connected with mentors in Zaatari

“When we first met the boys, there was a lot of tension between them. They displayed verbal and even physical abuse against their peers.” (Farid, Questscope Syrian Mentor in the Zaatari refugee camp)

Syrian refugee youth have experienced trauma that most of us could never imagine. When the Syrian war first started, many witnessed the death of a family member or the destruction of their home. Now, as refugees, they experience trauma of a different kind. Most haven’t attended school in over 2 years. They are isolated, so they cling to anyone and anything around them to feel...MORE

One month later: Music in Za'atari

One month ago, Questscope hosted a music residency program in the Za'atari refugee camp in partnership with Music for Life International. The three-day residency program brought together Syrian mentors, youth, members of the Za'atari security directorate and elders from the community, who together enjoyed performances led by the "Za'atari String Quartet" - four distinguished musicians from around the world. Music education courses were also held after each performance, creating space for young Syrian refugees to explore creative expression and the power of music to heal and build...MORE

A Better Future: Trading Violence for Community

Sufia stole from her classmates in school. Amer led a gang of boys in throwing stones at passing cars. Hani was caught spray-painting caravans.

Like Sufia, Amer and Hani, many young Syrian refugees living in Zaatari Camp have resorted to anti-social behavior in the face of frustration and boredom. Knowing this, Questscope reached out several months ago to youth in the camp to connect...MORE

The Power of Relationship

“Can she sit by you? She would like to sing a song.”

A 10-year old girl quietly smiled as I welcomed her to sit down. Her mentor took the seat beside her and encouraged her, “Go ahead and introduce yourself.”

After we exchanged names, she shared that while she had only joined the mentoring program two weeks ago, she already loved coming here and all of the mentors.

Then she sang. She looked with fixed eyes at the wall of the caravan in front of her. She never made eye contact with me, or with anyone else sitting around her. Applause and words of reassurance from her...MORE

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...MORE

Students as Teachers - Thoughts on International Youth Day

Yesterday was International Youth Day. This is a good time to pause and appreciate young people and their contributions to this great world. In honor of today, I’d like to share a story about how I was shamed by a ninth grader.
 
When I was a student teacher I had to record myself teaching a lesson. This was part of my final college assignment and had the potential to make or break my teaching certification. Obviously, I was tense about it going well. Prior to pressing “record” I gave the class a thorough speech on the importance of making me look good. I would teach them, they...MORE

Questscope's Work Extends to the U.S.

We all need a champion.
 
A champion notices our bright moments and encourages them. Without a champion small mistakes can feel like failure and failure can begin to inform identity. For this reason, Questscope has been championing youth in the Middle East for 25 years and has now expanded its work to the United States.
 
We call champions mentors and our goal is to pair every youth in Brooklyn Park, MN with one. Yes, every youth. Admittedly, this is a large goal, but the project is already progressing. Last year, Questscope embedded the One2One mentoring program in...MORE

Mentoring in Za’atari Camp

“How can you form relationships in a place where there are no rules?”

A Syrian man in his mid-40s tearfully asked this question while seated in a tent in Za’atari Refugee Camp. He was thinking about his own children, his friends’ children, and the youth he works with every day as a teacher in Za’atari’s formal school.

“What do you tell a boy whose brothers are dead, whose father is still in Syria, and whose mother has other children to look after?” The same man continued with a tone of hopelessness, stuck both emotionally and physically in Jordan - so close to his...MORE

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