Syrian Refugee Children’s Programme

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.

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.

This unique programme was used gleaned upon for a case study and a vignette of it was co-authored with Niki Davis for UNESCO Institute of Statistics.

Chowfin, A., & Davis, N. (2015). Saturday programme for out of school refugee children 30 minutes from the border and war zone. In P. Twining, Davis, N.E. & Charania, A. (Ed.), Developing New Indicators To Describe Digital Technology Infrastructure In Primary And Secondary Education (pp. 74-79). Montreal,CA: UNESCO Institute for Statistics.