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

The Big Girl Who Can't Read

Rahaf fled Aleppo with her family when missiles started crashing into their neighborhood.

They now share space with others in a communal shelter near Aleppo. Crowded, chaotic, crammed together.

She attends a temporary school there. Due to a learning disability, she is older than the grade level she is in. For other students, she is “the big girl who can’t read.”  It was very hard for 14-year old Rahaf when others made fun of her.  

Making friends was very hard, too. Teen girls, especially in the...MORE

A Teenager, a Little Baby, and a Big Second Chance

Bayan is 14 and attends alternative education classes in Madaba, Jordan. She really enjoys math and the games she plays to learn mathematical concepts. And her new friends at the alternative education center help her to learn – while they help her take care of her baby girl in the class.

Her baby girl?

Bayan dropped out of school when she was forced into an early marriage. Now she lives in a tent with her unemployed husband and works on a farm for $14 a day as an agricultural laborer.

Talk about having...MORE

Beauty in the Beastliness of War

Magic. Refugee camp. Poetry. Youth. A library.

What?! A library for refugees in a refugee camp? Poetry and writing workshops in that library? What's going on here? Backstory coming up.

Amjad's life crashed in the early days of the Syrian conflict. Violence. Hatred. Deep emotional wounds in a 20-something young man. Escape to a refugee camp. "I didn't know what a refugee was. I was a university student, not a refugee – whatever that was."

"When I came to the camp I felt that my spirit was being broken – just like so many youth around me....MORE

Manal's Story

Every week, Manal* gets together with eight other girls in a classroom. She didn't know any of them before, and now they're some of her closest friends. They are all refugees from the war-hell in Syria.

They all crossed the border into Jordan when the war broke out. One of the first things they tried was to enroll in school. But it was too late. They had been out for so many years that they couldn't catch up. Pretty bleak, after surviving hell.

Her family was so destitute that they thought they were forced to sell her to be married. At least...MORE

New Youth-Led Classes

The students who attend our alternative education centers come from backgrounds of poverty and trauma, but they do not want to be defined by what life has dealt them. They're searching for a full life, and we designed ourselves to adapt to their changing needs as they reach for their goals.

We teach core skills like reading and math, but we also focus on developing their ability to navigate the uncertain futures they all face. What we've been hearing lately is that they want more opportunities to build hands-on vocational skills, so we've spent the past few months working...MORE

Making Change in Za'atari

The Za'atari Refugee Camp is a place where people who have no choices have to live. Youth in particular have very little control over their lives. They don't know when they'll be able to return home and most decisions about how they will live in the camp are made by others.

They are people in search of a significant life and a way to contribute to the world, but there is so much they cannot change.

The Creativity Fund Committee was born out of the desire to find what they CAN change. Every month, youth bring their ideas to this...MORE

The Aqaba Project

Reem and her six sisters live in Aqaba, a port city in the south of Jordan.

They have been out of school for nearly four years, ever since they fled their home in Syria. They live in a neighborhood where no young girl should walk around in the streets, so they spend most of their time cooped up inside.

For a while Reem and her family were able to get by, but the little money they had ran out. You can feel the tight pressure in the room when her dad talks about his daughters.

“Girls are especially vulnerable in this world and we’re not really...MORE

A Second Chance

This month we celebrated the opening of 28 new alternative education centers across Jordan. This is the launch point to reach over 100,000 out-of-school Jordanian and Syrian youth in the years to come. 

The Syria Crisis has been raging on for five long years.  Many Syrian refugee youth have been out of school for that entire time. Jordanian youth who were vulnerable before the crisis have even less support now as the Jordanian school system struggles under the pressure of unexpected numbers. Jordan is a country of only six million into which nearly one...MORE

A Major Milestone

We just celebrated a major milestone at our Youth Center in the Za’atari Refugee Camp: the official opening of our new sports field. It’s a rare patch of green in an oppressively brown and dusty refugee camp. Hundreds of youth now have a safe place to play and run around with their friends. 

This achievement alone is a big reason for us to celebrate. But the completion of the sports field means something even more significant: the Youth Center is now fully operational

...MORE

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