The number of refugee kids dropping out of school in Jordan has grown due to a decrease in funds for NGOs. This comes in addition to an increase in the overall refugee population: Yemeni, Sudanese, and Somali refugees are migrating to Amman in search of basic assistance and safety. In order to cope with the resulting increased workload, CRP recently hired two additional members: Assem and Alaa. They will help to keep operations running smoothly at our center.
A former volunteer, CRP offered Assem the position of Youth Program Officer not long after his first week here. ‘‘Working at CRP is something different. It’s a fun job that gives me purpose,’’ he says.
When it comes to teenagers aged 13-17, their defiant nature can make things difficult. ”I try to understand them better, to make them open up to me, and tell me anything,” says Assem. He hopes to support traumatized kids and teenagers alike by improving his communication and interpersonal skills while at CRP.
Working with refugee kids, however difficult, can be a privilege. This year, there was a 20% decrease in funding to nonprofit organizations in Jordan, and Unicef funding for education went down by $8 million. Despite that, CRP has been expanding its programs to accommodate the rising number of middle school dropouts.
Our second hiree is Alaa from Jordan. She came to CRP looking for a new and diverse environment where she can deploy a set of skills she gained by working at International NGOs such as ActionAid. She considers herself very lucky to be assuming the role of Teen Program Coordinator.
Alaa overlooks our new Teen Allstars program and develops new ways to encourage kids who are out of school to come to CRP. While CRP can never fully replace proper schooling, we have many programs that seek to educate kids and teens and provide a space for social development. English, Arabic, and Computer Classes are some examples. Besides working on the curriculum, Alla’s goal is to restore refugee kid’s faith in education and to keep them interested academia.
‘’It’s not easy for refugees, especially teens. You have to be patient and flexible at the same time,’’ she says. Luckily, Alaa’s previous work experience can help her overcome challenges faced in this role.
Thanks to Schüler Helfen Leben and Rotary International for supporting CRP with grants that enable us to hire both Alla and Assem! In addition, thanks to our individual donors for keeping our programs alive and for assisting CRP in achieving its broader purpose.