Arabic Poetry Project for Teens
The Arabic Poetry Project in Za’atari Refugee Camp in Jordan aims to enhance refugee youth’s psychosocial development and literacy through reading and writing poetry under the guidance of working poets in the region.
The Catalyst Foundation, in partnership with Questscope's youth center in Za'atari Camp in Jordan, has launched an Arabic poetry project for refugee teens. Importantly, the project teaches displaced students to express their thoughts and write about their personal journeys in a fun and interactive way, encouraging self-reflection, reinforcing the importance of persistence, and contributing to their emotional stability. Additionally, engagement with classical and modern Arabic poetic texts, as well as international poetry translated into Arabic, offers students the opportunity to hone a wide variety of crucial skills ranging from increased literacy to improved critical thinking, textual analysis, vocabulary building, history, and art.
The project is run by accomplished poets who work and publish in the Arabic language. Teens meet weekly with these poets to read and discuss poetry and other creative writing, and share their own written work.
To learn more about Questscope's youth center in Za'atari, please visit their website here.
Healing and Education Through Art (HEART)
The HEART program, run by Save the Children, is an arts-based approach to learning that provides psychosocial support to children affected by serious or chronic stress in Northern Iraq.
Save the Children’s HEART program uses an arts-based curriculum designed by art therapists to help children better understand and express emotions related to the stressful experiences in their lives, setting them up to better engage in formal education. A report by Save the Children in Iraq found that displaced children there face pervasive hopelessness, isolation, and psychological distress due to their experiences with past and ongoing conflict in the region. The HEART program is designed to support the emotional well-being of these children, many of whom have experienced trauma, violence, and conflict.
The Catalyst Foundation is supporting Save the Children’s efforts to implement and scale this program in Northern Iraq, including by incorporating HEART into the main academic curriculum in local schools.
To learn more about Save the Children’s HEART program, please visit their website here.
Kickstart Joy Soccer camp
Kickstart Joy, in partnership with the Asian Football Development Program, organizes week-long intensive soccer programs for refugee youth in Jordan.
Kickstart Joy was founded by former NYCFC player Mehdi Ballouchy to bring fun to hundreds of young soccer placers while providing psychosocial support and teaching valuable social skills. Ballouchy and other professional soccer players bring not only uniforms, cleats, and training to youth each summer, but also a joyful reprieve from life in the camps while teaching the young players teamwork, discipline, work ethic, and structure.
Underscoring the relevance of these programs, Catalyst has seen an outpouring of interest from a mixture of collaborators including professional sports organizations, former refugees, and private individuals that underwrite the program.
Lens on Life: Operation Za’atari
Lens on Life provides photography training and digital photo editing skills to Syrian teens in the Za’atari Refugee Camp in Jordan.
Lens on Life provides photography training for marginalized youth around the world. With initial funding from the Catalyst Foundation, Lens of Life conducted a five-day photography workshop for Syrian teens in the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan. The workshop was followed by a gallery show and auction of the Syrian teens’ photographs in New York City. The funds raised at the auction allowed Lens on Life to launch a year-round photography program for youth in Za’atari camp, staffed by local Syrian photography instructors.
To learn more, please visit Lens on Life’s website.
Sounds of Palestine
Sounds of Palestine is a community music school in Bethlehem that teaches Palestinian children to play musical instruments and uses music as a means of social empowerment.
Sounds of Palestine offers comprehensive music education to school-age children through regular after-school and summer programs. The curriculum is designed to teach musical skills as well as self-confidence and social development. Local Palestinian music teachers lead after school classes on individual instruments, orchestra, choir, and music theory for over 140 students every week. The center also offers transportation, home-cooked meals, and on-site social worker support for all children participating in the program, including many with special needs.
Sounds of Palestine started teaching music education in the kindergartens of two refugee camps in Bethlehem in 2012. As those first children have grown and continued in the program, the program has grown up with them: a new class of young children is added every year. The children involved in Sounds of Palestine’s kindergarten, after-school program, and summer camps have been invited to perform on Radio Bethlehem, in Manger Square, and at a Bethlehem school’s graduation ceremony.
To learn more, please visit Sound of Palestine's website.
Syrian Refugee Kids Can Code
World Learning, Kano, and Save the Children have teamed up to teach Syrian refugee youth in Arbat Refugee Camp in Iraq essential skills in science, technology, engineering, and math.
Kids Can Code pairs Kano’s build-it-yourself computer kits and computer coding curriculum with World Learning’s deep understanding of the educational and psycho-social challenges facing refugees in Iraq. World Learning has worked on youth programs in Iraq for over a decade and is drawing on its expertise to introduce and contextualize the Kano curriculum in ways that maximize the program’s reach and benefit to young people who otherwise would lack access to any form of STEM education. The four-month courses aim to develop learners’ skills in technology and English, as well as their aspirations for jobs in STEM fields. Kurdistan Save the Children’s Arbat-based instructors are implementing the curriculum.
Za’atari Village Centre
Za’atari Village Centre provides English lessons and computer literacy training classes for children and adults in Jordan.
Since 2016, Acting for Change International (AFCI) has supported local teachers at Za’atari Village Centre who provide Arabic, English, and Math classes to over 100 Syrian and Jordanian children. The Centre is located in Za’atari Village in Jordan, outside the gated perimeter of the Za’atari Refugee Camp. With Catalyst’s support, Za’atari Village Centre installed a computer lab and expanded its curriculum to include computer literacy training and IT classes for children and adults from the community.
The classes aim to increase students’ technical problem-solving and research abilities by teaching practical skills such as using internet browsers, word processing software, and email. These basic skills will not only open doors for future opportunities, but will also help refugees access information about their legal rights, the local services available to them, and other educational materials for self-training.
To learn more about the Za’atari Village Centre, please visit Acting for Change International’s website here.