Za’atari Youth Center: A Space for Change

On September 15, we officially launched the new Questscope Youth Center in the Za’atari Camp for Syrian refugees in northern Jordan. The Center—whose funders include the UN and the Middle East Broadcasting Corporation (MBC)—will engage 500 Syrian youth in recreational, educational, artistic/cultural, and psycho-social activities. The entire program has been designed and led by our dynamic team of Syrian volunteers inside the camp.

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Remember Us

This is a reflection written by Nadia Schroeder, daughter of Curt Rhodes, after she visited Zaatari Camp a few weeks ago.

“What would you like Americans to know? What is your message to Americans?” We asked a group of Syrian refugees in the Zaatari Refugee Camp. “Syrians love life.” “And we are fahmaneen,” which means “we are not ignorant, but rather perceptive, cultured, and knowledgeable.”

This was a statement we heard many times throughout the day we spent at Zaatari. “We are not, as many view us, ‘pathetic and uneducated refugees’” one young man in...MORE

The Month of Ramadan

The holy month of Ramadan took place this year from June 18 to July 16. The timing of this month of fasting from sunrise to sunset is based on the lunar Muslim liturgical calendar and varies from year to year.

It is marked by a refocus on spiritual life and includes recitations by children of the Holy Quran, much like Christian children reciting memorized Bible Verses in a spelling bee format. Successful "recitees" get certificates of recognition and gifts to encourage them to know and understand their religion. For 28 consecutive evenings, every "break-fast" is a shared meal with...MORE

Mentor's Reality

"It was the worse trip I had to take in my life, a trip where I had to leave my home, all my belongings. I remember a tear in the eye of my old neighbor and the shadows of a homeland that we may never come back to."

"Here in the refugee camp, our new reality: “refugees.” There were times when we would be so frustrated it turned into self-pity, and everything around us seemed to have only a black color. At those points we could have been thinking, this is the end of the journey!"

"Except, it’s not!"

"When you meet...MORE

A Safe Place

In moments of stress and tragedy, we look for a safe place. For Amer, 16 years old, that safe place used to be his school and his home in Syria.

 When his family left Syria to come to Jordan’s Zaatari camp, those safe places were ripped away from him one by one. He was not able to go to school. His father had been injured and lost his brother in the war. The stress his family felt was redirected toward him, and Amer was confined to home and often abused. His home, the only place he could go, was no longer a safe place at all.

 Amer used to love to study,...MORE

Investing in the future: Questscope mentor talks to UNHCR about youth in the Middle East

"Youth are the spirit of life. They determine how developed or underdeveloped a nation is and are the key criteria in any community." (Zaher, Questscope Mentor Coordinator, Zaatari Camp)

Zaher is from the city of Daraa in Syria. At 25, his past is full of accomplishments: he has a bachelor's degree in history and education, and worked in Syria as a teacher. His future is full of dreams: to pursue a PhD, get married and have children. But when he came to Jordan's Zaatari refugee camp with his family, his view of the future took on a different shape. Now, he works for...MORE

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

Behind the Scenes: Music for Zaatari

In the spring, Questscope hosted communications workshops in Jordan’s Zaatari refugee camp through the MeWe Syria initiative. Our Syrian mentors and case coordinators learned about video production as a way to use communication to break down barriers and share the stories of triumph, resilience and hope that they see happening around them.

Fast forward to summer, when Questscope partnered with Music for Life International for a unique...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

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