Mazen and Sham

For Syrian refugee children residing in Jordan, like children around the world, the pandemic has negatively impacted their lives. Yet, to them, violence and war have left a resounding impact on their lives.
“The COVID-19 pandemic transformed this world into a turmoil,” said Mazen, 14, who fled Syria with his family and currently resides in Za’atari refugee camp. “But the impact of the war in Syria was far worse, eroding our lives and separating us from our loved ones and our beloved country. We are safe here,” continued Mazen, pointing to a tiny house made of corrugated iron. “But this is not what I dreamt of.”
Sham, 14, is another adolescent refugee residing in Za’atari camp. In 2013, at the age of 6, with her family, she escaped the violence in their Syrian hometown of Dara’a, seeking refuge in Jordan. “When we left Syria, I was in Grade 1,” recalled Sham when speaking about her education before the Makani Program. “I only attended school for few days when my father decided to bring us here.”

At the camp, adolescents like Mazen and Sham are constantly seeking opportunities to improve their lives. Both adolescents are enrolled in the UNICEF-supported Makani centers in Za’atari camp. These centers offer youth educational opportunities, skills building, sports and recreational activities, which support them in reaching their full potential. “I am so happy that they reopened the center,” said Mazen. “At the center, I also strengthen my Arabic, English and math, and learn how to use the computer.”
“During COVID-19, the tablet and the internet bundle helped me to continue my studies online,” said Mazen with a smile. “Otherwise, I would not have been able to manage my studies.”
Sham also attends Arabic, English, and math classes, in addition to computer, arts, and sports. The tablet she received has helped her to continue her online studies and has contributed to her high scores in class. Sham’s dreams and ambitions are endless. “I want to become a child rights lawyer to defend children’s rights and put an end to children’s misery.” She also has a passion for football, “I want to become a famous football player like Ronaldo and join Paris-St. Germain Football Club.” Mazen also has strong beliefs in the power of education.


“Through education, we can change the world,” said Mazen. “We need to transform this world to a better place for future generations to come.”
Thanks to the generous support from the Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund, UNICEF will continue to be able to provide educational support for the most vulnerable children in Jordan, to learn and grow, through the Makani Program.