EU Commissioner congratulates UNESCO Education activities at Za’atari Syrian refugee Camp
The European Union (EU) Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy, Mr Štefan Füle, has met with beneficiaries of UNESCO’s mentoring and informal education (IFE) programmes targeting at-risk Syrian youth in Za’atari Camp, home of more than 120,000 Syrian refugees. Guided by Dr. Anna Paolini, the Director of UNESCO’s Office in Amman and UNESCO Representative in Jordan, the EU Commissioner had the opportunity to exchange experiences with the children and youth taking part in the UNESCO activities in the Camp.
When asked by the Commissioner, “What do you enjoy most about the (informal education) programme?” the children expressed their enthusiasm for Math and Arabic. In a conversation with the mentors of Questscope, UNESCO’s partners in Za’atari Camp, they commented how the UNESCO-led activities in informal education help the children escape from the tense situation and the hard living conditions in the Camp.
“I would like to express my solidarity with you,” said Commissioner Füle to the youth beneficiaries of the UNESCO Project who also had the opportunity to inform the Commissioner about their thoughts on the p<a name="_GoBack"></a>rogramme. “The best thing about the programme are the relationships we build with the mentors, and actually, we need more mentors,” one of the participants said to the Commissioner.
“In addressing the impact of the Syrian crisis you are not alone. You have us--the international community-- at your side,” said Commissioner Füle after his visit to the UNESCO Project in Za’atari camp. “We have a particular responsibility vis-a-vis the young generation to make sure it is not a lost generation but a generation that is going to build a new future,” he concluded.
“In a long-term crisis as the one we are witnessing in Syria, education is a powerful tool to prevent conflict and to build peace and dialogue; UNESCO has an active role in these fields and is committed to palliating the tragedy of Syrian civilians, particularly the refugee community,” stated Dr. Paolini during the official visit of the EU Commissioner.
Dr. Paolini also had the opportunity to hold a meeting with Questscope staff in Za’atari Camp, who briefed her about the latest achievements of the UNESCO-supported activities. “So far we have trained 16 case managers and 52 mentors, who have reached 200 Syrian youths. By the end of the project, we will have reached 1,050 youths through 28 case managers and 140 mentors,” explained Ms Dana Karsou, Questscope Youth Coordinator.
UNESCO’s activities in the Education field are part of a country-wide 4.3 million Euro project funded by the EU and coordinated by the UNESCO Amman Office aiming to sustain quality education and promote skills development opportunities for young Syrian refugees and young Jordanians impacted by the humanitarian crisis. With Syrian refugees reaching almost half a million (either registered or awaiting registration with UNHCR) in June 2013 – 55% of which are children under the age of 18 – educational opportunities for conflict-affected youth are needed to enable them to develop resilient attitudes, catch up with school, or acquire new skills that would enhance their future employment prospects.
The UNESCO Amman Office is partnering with the Ministry of Education of Jordan and local stakeholders like the Queen Rania Training Academy (QRTA) and Questscope. The three-year Project has as major goals to build the capacities of teachers in emergency situations and to offer informal and non-formal education programmes and life skills opportunities for Syrian and Jordanian youth. In the framework of this initiative, UNESCO will deliver teacher training that adheres to internationally-recognized standards and guidelines for education in emergency and post conflict situations as provided by the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) Minimum Standards. Furthermore, UNESCO will map the needs of youth through a comprehensive census leading to further provision of demand-driven vocational training, literacy and livelihood programs, as well as mentoring, informal and non-formal education in the camps and urban areas.
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