As the Syrian conflict has entered its fifth year, more than 85 % of refugees live in non-camp areas where services remain scattered. The dispersion of non-camp refugees presents a problem in terms of delivery of services. According to a report by the International Peace Institute (IPA) of May 2015, schooling and formal education are among the biggest challenges with about 38% of school-age Syrian children not attending school. Particularly in large urban areas these problems are compounded by already existing high levels of poverty, which force primarily boys to look for employment: compared to 13% of Syrian boys working (aged 14 or above), only 8% of Jordanian boys of the same age work as well. Through our work we have identified two locations where this situation is particularly acute: Sahab district (in East Amman) and the city of Zarqa and its outskirts.
Meanwhile, the Jordanian host communities in Zarqa and Sahab are struggling as well, as the competition for the limited resources and services available has intensified. Both Jordanians as well as refugees are faced with a diversity of sever challenges including crime and harassment, drugs, education degradation, lack of community recreation resources and more. These issues are supplemented with problems that are characteristic to host communities, such as the mistrust between the diverse members of the community – between the hosts, the permanent residents and the recent arrivals, the Syrian refugees.
“My Community” (Mujtama’i) Project
Through the “My Community” project, ARDD-Legal Aid will focus on establishing links between the Jordanian and Syrian refugees and their communities, as well as strengthen resilience mechanisms of refugees through psychosocial support and expression through art, especially for those most vulnerable.
Launched in 2016 and funded by the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), the project aims to support refugees and host communities as promoters and defenders of human rights in their communities by enhancing their social and legal capabilities. Therefore, ARDD-Legal Aid will implement four community programs (two in Zarqa and two in Sahab) that merge different components:
- Art and education session for children and adolescents – Bringing together Syrian refugee and Jordanian youth through peaceful mechanism of art, education, dialogue and leadership as means of self-expressions and opportunities to work together as one community.
- Psychosocial support and legal empowerment sessions that aim to empower Syrian and Jordanian mothers to become more assertive self-advocates, effective communicators/negotiators within their home and learn to use the basic rights they are entitled to under Jordanian law.
- Joint sessions for adolescents and mothers to learn about the principles of active civic engagement in the context of their communities. The project aims to help restore pride and sense of community between the two beneficiary groups, refugee and host community, by supporting the beneficiaries in the development of own community initiatives.