More than 28,000 Palestinian refugees live in Irbid refugee camp, one of four camps established in Jordan as a result of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. The camp quickly became a new home to hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees who flee their homes due to the ongoing Syrian civil war. According to the FaFo report of 2013, about 31% of Palestine refugees in Irbid camp have an income below the national poverty line. Almost 80 Jordanian schools – most of them in the poor governorates (counties) in the north – have introduced two daily school sessions to cope with the influx of Syrians that have stretched Jordan’s public resources to breaking point, including health and education. Many are beginning to grumble about the strain on their hospitals and schools.
More than 28,000 Palestinian refugees reside in the Irbid refugee camp. This is one of the four camps established in Jordan following the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. Over time, the camp has also become a temporary home for hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees. They have fled their homes due to the ongoing Syrian civil war.
The convergence of two refugee populations is causing strain. Jordan’s public resources are significantly affected. These resources include health and education.
Socio-economic Challenges and Poverty
A FaFo report from 2013 states that around 31% of Palestine refugees in Irbid camps live below the national poverty line. These families’ economic struggles make proper education for their children challenging. This, in turn, leads to higher dropouts and low retention rates among school children in the camp.
Strain on Public Resources
The influx of Syrian refugees has stretched Jordan’s public resources to their breaking point. Around 80 Jordanian schools, mainly in impoverished areas in the north, have implemented two daily school sessions. This is done to accommodate the increased number of students.
This strain has caused concerns among the local population. Because they are witnessing the negative impact on their hospitals and schools also.
Education Challenges and Lack of Life Skills
Children in Irbid camps face various challenges related to education. Early marriage and labor over schooling worsen the situation.
There is a lack of emphasis on teaching interpersonal and social skills. These are crucial for the holistic development and psychosocial well-being of children.
UMR’s iFuture Project
UMR’s iFuture project aims to take necessary steps for the children in the Irbid camp. It addresses the education and overall development challenges faced by children.
The project focuses on empowering children through education, interpersonal skills, and leadership training. To achieve this, UMR will utilize an electronic and digital platform. It will provide students with tablets to access online lessons prepared by coaches.
Alignment with Development Goals
The iFuture project is designed in alignment with Sustainable Development Goal 4. It aims to ensure inclusive, equitable quality education for all. It also promotes lifelong learning opportunities.
The project also aligns with the Ministry of Education’s strategic plan. This is for lifelong learning and non-formal education, ensuring its relevance and sustainability.
Target Beneficiaries and Support
The project aims to help 100 orphaned children. There will be 50 girls and 50 boys, with 30% being Syrian and 70% being Jordanian-Palestinian. Twenty percent of these kids have quit school to go to work. Eighty percent have trouble in school because of their family’s financial situation.
Refugee families will get money from the project every month for a year. This will help them to pay for their children’s schooling and daily needs. UMR will also work with UNHCR, UNRWA, the Ministry of Social Development (MoSD), and other INGOs. The goal is to help families find more ways to get money.
Holistic Approach to Child Development
UMR will help children with their schoolwork. We will also give them-
- Psychosocial and awareness classes,
- Games, and
- Other things to do.
The goal of these programs is to help children grow physically and mentally. We want to make sure they are healthy in every way.
Dropouts and retention are on the rise between school children in Irbid camps. In addition to the socio-economic conditions that force families and children to resort to negative coping mechanisms like early marriage and mis-prioritizing work over education. Another significant challenge is the lack of introducing interpersonal and social skills to school children and refugees for the advancement of life skills and psychosocial growth.
UMR’s iFuture project aims to resolve challenges regarding education and the overall progress of the child’s social and intellectual health. UMR hopes to empower children by providing them with education, interpersonal skills, and leadership skills.
UMR designed iFuture in line with the Sustainable Development Goal.4: To ensure inclusive, equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all and the MoE strategic plan for lifelong learning and non-formal education.
The project targets 100 orphan children (50% girls and 50% boys, 30% Syrians and 70% Jordanians-Palestinians, aged 7-16) 20% of them are dropped out of schools to join the market, and 80% have poor school performance due to socio-economic conditions. Therefore, financial support will be provided to refugee families with monthly cash assistance for 12 months to accommodate school and life cost challenges. To sustain the project, UMR will link families with other financial assistance systems through its cooperation with UNHCR, UNRWA and MoSD, and INGOs in Irbid. UMR will provide children with mentors, psychosocial and awareness sessions, sports, games, and other activities to help the physical and mental development of a child.