May 15, 2014

“Can she sit by you? She would like to sing a song.”

A 10-year old girl quietly smiled as I welcomed her to sit down. Her mentor took the seat beside her and encouraged her, “Go ahead and introduce yourself.”

After we exchanged names, she shared that while she had only joined the mentoring program two weeks ago, she already loved coming here and all of the mentors.

Then she sang. She looked with fixed eyes at the wall of the caravan in front of her. She never made eye contact with me, or with anyone else sitting around her. Applause and words of reassurance from her mentor and peers followed her last note.

This young girl is one of 200 youth currently participating in Questscope’s mentoring program in Zaatari, that reaches out to the most vulnerable children in the camp—many of whom have been in conflict with the law. The experience of war always has an impact, but the response of each child is different. For many youth in Zaatari, acting out in violence has become what they see as their only option.

Connected with a mentor through Questscope, young people are finding there are other options - better options. For them, this is a safe space where there is opportunity to talk about their feelings with adults and peers who understand what they have seen and know what they feel. It is a place where they can build confidence, identity and purpose.

One hour after she sang for us, the young girl returned. This time, she approached me with a small group of her friends. “Can I sing for you again?”

The song was just as beautiful the second time around, but this time she looked me in the eyes. Her confidence was evident.

There is remarkable transformation in relationship and community. This young girl has just started on a road to a new future. There are many more just like her. Through Questscope, their sense of confidence and purpose is strengthened within a community of trusted friends and the presence of a champion.