At the startup of the Za'atari Refugee Camp in 2012 our answer to a single question made all the difference in our experience there for the next 6 years: Are refugees a problem or a solution? We chose the latter – refugees are people, like us, with solutions. They just don't live at their usual home anymore.
We (Jordanian staff and Syrian volunteers) dreamed up very ambitious plans for youth-led activities in a Youth Center (that we would have to build!) in Za'atari Refugee Camp – a place where everyone already knew resources were scarce. Impossible! Really?
We put our heads and hearts together. Ideas. Designs. Piles of sand, concrete, and cement blocks. Sweat. Joy. These young leaders have the vision, spiritual stamina, and drive desperately needed in the destructive violence of war. Today our Youth Center is a tangible sign of how people can find abundance when we give up believing in scarcity.
Reliance on youth leadership is an enduring commitment in Questscope. We listened. We learned. We introduced mentoring relationships that demonstrate every person is a worthy, lovable human being.
We invested in them – 40 young adult refugees who now lead, design, innovate – and brought our Youth Center to life.
This core team of Syrian young adult leaders now invest in others – mentoring and reaching out to thousands of younger youth in the camp, deepening these values of worth and love. Young people now bring ideas to their peers in a Creativity Fund so that together they design and fund projects to help others.
Youth go out into their community. They listen. They discover problems that cause people pain. They design projects together to solve those problems. They pour love into others, just as their mentors poured love into them.
Take a look at some of their recent creative projects:
Providing a safe and private bathroom for Miriam and her mom.
Building a privacy fence for Fatima, to protect against roaming dogs and the harsh wind and rain.
Providing a comfortable bed for a 7 year old boy with cancer.
Decorating caravans to spread awareness of health and wellness initiatives at our Youth Center.