At the end of 2014, Syrians accounted for the highest number of refugees worldwide (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees [UNHCR], 2016).
The Zaatari Refugee Camp came about as a response to the Humanitarian crisis developed after the start of the Syrian war in March 2011, (part of the Arab Spring).
The Government crackdown that followed, led to divisions between secular and religious groups. This escalated when outside forces commenced airstrikes in 2015.
Since then, we have seen more than 4.8 million Syrians forced out of their homeland into the surrounding countries of Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq. And now we are witnessing their attempts to leave Turkey and travel to Greece, hoping to make it to safer places in Europe.
Jordan has seen more than 650,000 Syrian refugees pass through camps such as Zaatari. Presently Zaatari is host to 80,000 of them. It is the most concentrated settlement of refugees in Jordan.
Some facts about life in Zaatari..
- 57% of the Zaatari population are youth
- 20% are under the age of 5
- There are 27 Community Centres offering psychosocial and recreational support
- There are 2 hospitals with 55 beds
- There are 9 health care centres, staffed by 120 community health volunteers
- There is 1 delivery unit
- 2,500 refugees operate shops and businesses with the camp
- 86% of refugees within the Zaatari camp have access to a mobile phone.
Some Educational facts…
Within the Zaatari Refugee Camp, Jordan’s Ministry of Education and UNICEF have worked together to set up an entire school system, from early childhood education through secondary school .
In the education system within Za’atari there are Jordanian teachers, Syrian assistant teachers, school counselors, assistant principles, and principals that are all hired by the Ministry of Education of Jordanian. The Jordanian teachers and the Syrian assistant teachers are paired together in the classroom. (Frey 2016)
- There are 9 schools , with 20,771 students enrolled
- There are on average 120 children to each teacher
- Half of the 30,000 Syrian school-aged children in the camp are out of school.
- Parents are faced with the choice of sending their children to school , or sending them out to work to earn money
- Partnerships are being established with Jordanian Educational Institutions to provide skills, training and academic accreditations.
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