November 25, 2013

“We have the key,” Rabia said, “And no other organization here would do that.”


Trust is a scarce resource in Zaatari camp. When Questscope began its work more than eight months ago, many thought we were crazy for entrusting the keys of our classrooms to volunteers, who are all residents of the camp. We were told that our things would be stolen and that no one would agree on ownership of the key. We were breaking the mold.


Questscope trusts its volunteers in Zaatari because they are the experts of their world. The compound is their space so they hold the key, and they take that responsibility very seriously.


As a result, we have witnessed something extraordinary. Every morning the classrooms are opened, cleaned, and prepared before our staff even arrives. When staff leave the camp at night—even at 6, 7, 8pm—our volunteers are always still there, even if just sitting with each other under our covered space after work has ended.


“This is the only place I feel treated like a human being,” Rabia continued. The rest of the group nodded with her. Another volunteer, Hiba, added, “I lost so much of my family. This is my family now, the only group who still checks on me and asks how I am doing.”


The need to be trusted or feel responsible does not decrease in the face of war. Building trust and subsequent community is a fundamental element of Questscope’s mission. Where families have been broken and trust has been lost, we deliberately work for restoration.  


Empowering volunteers with not only a physical key, but also the opportunity to give of themselves and exceed expectations is a meaningful step in the right direction.