The Syrian uprising in the spring of 2011 almost morphed into a full-fledged war in the summer of 2013, threatening to draw in the major countries and compelling them to choose sides. As the refugees fled Syria in waves into the neighbouring countries, majority of them found their way to the camps set up in the border town of Mafraq in Jordan. Some, however, came earlier and spread out in the city and the focus of this article is on a handful of families and sixty children that sought a different life.
This editorial explores the resilience and fortitude that refugee children develop through intentional education. The UNHCR research and report presented by the commissioner in Geneva (2001), states that sometimes the refugee families place a higher value on education then the humanitarian aide providers. Other studies indicate (Mathews, J. 2008) that there is a desire to resume normalcy and the children aspire to have a better life as quickly as possible. The data from the UNHCR in the June 2014 report on refugees revealed that organisations are looking at innovative ways to provide education to the ‘No Lost Generation’ of two million Syrian refugee children displaced within and around the neighbouring countries due to the Syrian war. Concurrent with this research, a programme was designed and developed for 60 Syrian refugee children (aged 3-10), to provide routine and consistent intervention, using flexible and open learning material, to engage them with media and technology, in a safe learning environment. Although influencing and limiting factors like finance, time, space, resources, weather, political upheaval and language were definitely barriers, a team of eight volunteers (Jordanian and international), met every Saturday to deliver an innovative and contextualized curriculum with perseverance and enthusiasm.
The article is written with a dual purpose; a review of the influence and impact that the Syrian war had on my personal flexible learning journey at the University of Canterbury and the value and necessity for disruption for the sake of innovation in the education of the Syrian refugee children.
You can access the full article here-Providing a future and a hope
You can access the various iterations of the initial plans:
Some narratives add an authenticity to the project and are an important reflective process for the next steps.