What it means to be a refugee

I thought a lot about this letter before I sat down to write it. Where to start, when to start, and many other questions came to my mind. Then, I decided to start from the point when I realized that I was a refugee, living in a refugee camp.

I grew up in the Baqa’a Refugee Camp in Jordan, and I still live there today. Baqa'a Camp was one of six emergency camps set up in...MORE

On the Road in Idlib, Syria

Should I stay under bombs? Or should I flee into the unknown?

3 million people in Idlib, Syria face this question today. Right now. Most are citizens caught up in a deadly contest for control of this ancient agricultural province — waiting out what the United Nations has called the last battle of the Syrian conflict. Intermittent cease-fires since September of 2018 gave some respite, but now fighting is escalating nightmarishly.

There aren’t enough doctors. There isn’t enough water. There aren’t enough...MORE

Let's Zumba!

Sara could feel the beat before she saw the action.

She walked into a packed room with women of all shapes and sizes dancing to heart-thumping music. The instructor had an infectious energy and welcomed everyone to participate – even a nervous first-timer like Sara. It felt more like a dance party than a workout class!

Zumba is a Latin-inspired dance workout that’s one of the most popular exercise classes in the world – and one of the most popular activities at our Youth Center in the Za’atari Refugee Camp.

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Old But Gold

One of the most important responsibilities of our Syria team is protection of the most vulnerable displaced people – women, children, the elderly – and helping them stay safe in conflicts and disasters.

We constantly inquire: How safe do you feel? Who do you feel safe with, or not? Does fear or your lack of safety hinder your getting food and medicine? Does your safety depend on your gender? Or your age?

We want to make sure that individuals and communities are protected from harm and relieved of fear, that they have safe access to services, and that their rights as human...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

Redefining Food Aid in the 21st Century

Questscope was recently commended for being one of the top global organizations “redefining food aid in the 21st century” by Food Tank, a think-tank working for food system change.

An incredible recognition! Because our main focus is not food in emergencies – our main focus is always on people. But when people in emergencies need food, we move all kinds of things to get food to them.

Our strength is in relationships, in the trust we build. So when formal infrastructures crumble, like in...MORE

An Update from Damascus

When thousands of children and families finally left the Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta after enduring years of conflict – we were there.

We met people malnourished from years of deprivation, children who lost their moms and dads, and thousands more with deep emotional and physical wounds.

Providing refuge to these disoriented and fearful families was our first priority. Our first response was to organize a large transition shelter to host more than 12,000 people.

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Resolute Women are the Future

What is the role of women in conflict?

Hundreds of thousands of young men in Syria have died or have been forced to flee to avoid being drafted into a war they do not want to fight. Young women have stepped into the void and now make up over half of our team in Syria.

They're distributing clean water, rebuilding shelters, educating children, and growing into a force for peace. Young women are redefining what it means to be female on the front lines of war.

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A Plumber's Toolkit

Abu Munir lost a son in a bombing, and then lost his livelihood when he fled his home. He was forced to move into a single room with his wife and four surviving children. When they needed a bathroom or a kitchen, they relied on the kindness of their neighbors.

When our staff first met Abu Munir, he was still reeling from the death of his son. He cried more than he spoke, but eventually he opened up. He told us he had been a plumber before he was displaced.

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Ghada

One of the accomplishments you can be most proud of supporting is the 30,000 women who are currently active in therapy groups organized by our Syria team in communities and shelters throughout the country.

Among those efforts is Hear My Heart, a therapy space for women to support one another that is led by trained facilitators. It is also a way for our staff to understand women's needs and worries so we can better serve them and their families.

Hear My Heart helps women and girls like 15-year-old Ghada, who fled Aleppo with her family more than two years...MORE

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