October 27, 2014

"Youth are the spirit of life. They determine how developed or underdeveloped a nation is and are the key criteria in any community." (Zaher, Questscope Mentor Coordinator, Zaatari Camp)

Zaher is from the city of Daraa in Syria. At 25, his past is full of accomplishments: he has a bachelor's degree in history and education, and worked in Syria as a teacher. His future is full of dreams: to pursue a PhD, get married and have children. But when he came to Jordan's Zaatari refugee camp with his family, his view of the future took on a different shape. Now, he works for Questscope as a mentor coordinator—a role through which he empowers the youth of his nation to invest in their own future, in light of a new reality.

Recently, Zaher talked to the UNHCR about adapting to a new reality, and a different future. His story and thoughts were shared during the regional conference, "Investing in the Future: Protecting Refugee Children in the Middle East and North Africa," held recently in Sharjah, UAE.

In a film produced by the UNHCR, Zaher talks of the challenges that confront Syrian youth including isolation, lack of educational access, and the absence of opportunities for youth to utilize their skills and resources. He emphasized the importance and urgency of investing in youth in the Middle East, and the key role they play in rebuilding the region. 

Zaher offers a powerful voice that speaks for thousands of youth in the Middle East. Out of his ambition, resilience and compassion, Zaher has readapted his dreams to ensure that Syrian youth can realize their own. He represents a hopeful future and a generation of youth well worth investing in.