More than 28,000 Palestinian refugees live in Irbid refugee camp, one of four camps established in Jordan as a result of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. The camp quickly became a new home to hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees who flee their homes due to the ongoing Syrian civil war. According to the FaFo report of 2013, about 31% of Palestine refugees in Irbid camp have an income below the national poverty line. Almost 80 Jordanian schools – most of them in the poor governorates (counties) in the north – have introduced two daily school sessions to cope with the influx of Syrians that have stretched Jordan’s public resources to breaking point, including health and education. Many are beginning to grumble about the strain on their hospitals and schools.
Dropouts and retention are on the rise between school children in Irbid camps. In addition to the socio-economic conditions that force families and children to resort to negative coping mechanisms like early marriage and mis-prioritizing work over education. Another significant challenge is the lack of introducing interpersonal and social skills to school children and refugees for the advancement of life skills and psychosocial growth.
UMR’s iFuture project aims to resolve challenges regarding education and the overall progress of the child’s social and intellectual health. UMR hopes to empower children by providing them with education, interpersonal skills, and leadership skills. UMR will use an electronic and digital platform (Electronic Library) for teaching students who each one of them will have his/her tablet to access online lessons designed by the community coaches.
UMR designed iFuture in line with the Sustainable Development Goal.4: To ensure inclusive, equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all and the MoE strategic plan for lifelong learning and non-formal education.
The project targets 100 orphan children (50% girls and 50% boys, 30% Syrians and 70% Jordanians-Palestinians, aged 7-16) 20% of them are dropped out of schools to join the market, and 80% have poor school performance due to socio-economic conditions. Therefore, financial support will be provided to refugee families with monthly cash assistance for 12 months to accommodate school and life cost challenges. To sustain the project, UMR will link families with other financial assistance systems through its cooperation with UNHCR, UNRWA and MoSD, and INGOs in Irbid. UMR will provide children with mentors, psychosocial and awareness sessions, sports, games, and other activities to help the physical and mental development of a child.