Maha Ahmad was in the first grade when she and her family left their home town Syria and fled to Jordan; their journey to safety was terrifying. Maha’s found the light when she started attending the psychosocial support activities in ActionAid Community Centre in Zarqa.
Maha was 6 years old when she and her mother, father and 10 brothers and sisters fled to Jordan, she dropped out of school when the Syrian crises started. Maha’s and her family journey to Jordan was hard, “we used to sleep on rocks without any blankets only our cloths on us”, Maha said, they were without home for about a month staying near the Jordanian boarders, Maha’s Mother added: “the Syrian free Army kept moving us from one place to another by force, they hit us, threatened us to take our children away”, thousands of displaced Syrian stayed near the Jordanian boarder in order to seek safety, Maha and her family were rescued by the Jordanian force army, and they stayed in Zaatari refugee camp for three month before moving to Zarqa Governorate.
Maha’s father is ill and can’t work, the family lives on UNHCR food coupons and it is not enough for them to survive especially in the cold weather, “the coupons are not enough for our family, the neighbors help us sometimes”, Maha’s mother added. Maha is 14 years old now and she doesn’t go to school, the Jordanian government schools didn’t admit her because she missed 4 years of schooling, “when we first arrived in Jordan and we settled down my mother concern was to secure food and shelter for us, so I missed school” Maha said.
Maha started psychosocial support activities as part of aproject in ActionAid’s Zarqa community center, Maha added: “I heard our neighbors children talking about the activities and was excited to finally found an opportunity to learn new things since I didn’t go to school”. Thepsychosocialactivities implemented in ActionAid’s community center in Zarqa governorate north Jordan, aim to increase children's social and psychological well-being, through objected oriented activities using art tools (Art (drawing), Drama/ Theatre, Music/ RAP, and Puppets Theatre), in order to process difficult memories and find strength to believe in the future and trust their own abilities, activities are led by a trained youth facilitator. Maha found the light when she attended the sessions for 2 months, “I liked the puppet activity it was the first time for me to make a puppet and tell a story with it”, Maha said, the sessions are regulated every 2 months by mobilizing children from both the Syrian refugee and the host community. Maha said: “the center was my second home I felt the warm and the family vibes in the sessions, I didn’t like going outside my house at the first especially because I didn’t attend school, but these sessions were really nice and helpful, and I enjoyed every single moment”.
Youth are trained on different techniques and methods to handle different child behaviors. In addition, they are also trained on leadership skills, supporting them to take more of a role in their communities by leading campaigns or community initiatives to improve social cohesion amongst Syrian refugee and host communities. The aim is to create more cohesive communities for the children’s future. Nazeh ActionAid’s Youth Activities Facilitator said: “Maha was a shy girl at first but session after session she changed, she is a smart girl and she was able to stand in front of everyone and talk”.