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UNICEF Canada ambassador and teacher Bayan Yammout visited Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan – the world’s largest camp for Syrian refugees – in October 2019, to provide training for facilitators (Syrian refugees who run the UNICEF designated programs) at the camp’s Makani Centres. In a two part series, she shares her reflections on life for children in the camps.

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UNICEF Canada ambassador and teacher Bayan Yammout visited Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan – the world’s largest camp for Syrian refugees – in October 2019, to provide training for facilitators at the camp’s Makani Centres. In a two part series, she shares her reflections on life for children in the camps.

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Seven years of conflict in Syria have driven millions of Syrians into exile. More than 660,000 of them are in Jordan, and 51 per cent are under the age of 18. With access only to precarious employment, the refugees in Jordan hold on to the hope of returning to their country, but violence and instability in the region suggest that the situation will not improve any time soon.


An update on the lives of some of the 430,000 people, mostly Syrian refugees, who have lived in or passed through the Za'atari Refugee Camp over the last five years.


One of my strongest memories from this seemingly endless war is of a young Syrian refugee girl I met in Duhok, Kurdistan, Iraq – 12 years old and three years out of school – who had forgotten how to read. What kind of hope could there be for a society that, in this day and age, could let children lose their education?


“Our village was so tiny, so far away and so unimportant that we thought the war would never reach us.” Hassan gave a sad shrug. “We were wrong.”


Millions of children who are already vulnerable are facing a winter without warm clothing and heating.