16-28 July 2016: Generations For Peace (GFP) recently facilitated specialised trainings for 123 teachers from Amman, Irbid and Mafraq. The training presented a unique opportunity for individuals who are passionate about their community to come together to learn, share and plan for a more positive future in their schools, especially in light of the challenges Jordan is currently facing due to the protracted crisis in Syria.
Building on its recent success, the Jordan Schools Programme is expanding from 12 to 24 schools with new support from United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and in partnership with the Ministry of Education. Launched in 2013, the programme is already strengthening relationships between students and teachers and between students themselves, enabling a greater focus on quality education. Newly trained teachers will run Sport and Arts For Peace activities to reduce incidents of violence in their schools, and to promote an inclusive environment for all. They follow in the footsteps of their fellow teachers who completed a full programme cycle in May earlier this year.
To date, over 655,000 Syrian refugees have registered with UNHCR in Jordan, with many more believed to be living in the country unregistered. As a result, the country is struggling to provide housing, education and employment opportunities in overwhelmed host communities. For example, overstretched schools have adopted a double-shift system to accommodate the huge influx of Syrian students.
Highlighting the absence of social cohesion between Jordanian and Syrian students, Mais Hazaymeh, a teacher from one of the participating girls schools, said: “The GFP-UNICEF programme will really support me because there’s a lack of communication between students even though they’re together sometimes. You see them in their groups but there’s not even a “good morning” or a smile. I’ve always wanted students to connect and communicate, so this programme will really help. They may worry when they’re first put together but when we start implementing what we learned through activities, it’s going to make things easier – not only for this group but the entire school, community, and even their parents.”
Ahmad Al Raqeb, a teacher from one of boys schools, shared his motivation for joining the programme: “Sometimes people don’t know the reason for their existence or where they’ll be in the future – I believe that taking part in this programme is my destiny. I’m here so I can encourage others to change, and I hope I’ll be able to achieve this…I learned that I have to change myself first before changing other people. I also learned that you have to have a message and values, especially if you’re a teacher so you can pass them onto students. GFP led the way and we’ll continue on this path.”
The programme is also made possible through the valued support of Jordan Olympic Committee, the Belgium Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Samsung, Orange and DHL.