On Monday December 22nd, Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development (ARDD) – Legal Aid’s Voices team met with Dr. Rochelle Davis and her research team from Georgetown University. Together they held a discussion with Syrian refugee participants in the Syrian Voices and Accountability project.
The discussion focused on the often overlooked issues affecting young men while living in Syria and in displacement. The first part of the discussion focused on education opportunities they can access in their adopted host communities in Jordan. These young men had no jobs to occupy their free time since it is illegal for refugees to seek formal employment in Jordan. One option would be to continue education; however educational opportunities are hard to come by outside of Amman. Many of the participants expressed their desire to expand their knowledge in a foreign language like English to expand their opportunities, but lack the class materials or a safe space to study.
Another issue that the discussion focused on was conscription back in Syria and how as the armed conflict intensified this became a bigger issue. The Voices participants explained how some of the rules and exemptions to military service began to bend and that this began to affect people’s daily lives and even lead to the decision to flee their homes.
ARDD-Legal Aid is committed to facilitating events like this where academics, journalists, and policy makers can meet with refugees first hand and allow refugees to express their voices and advocate for their aspirations, needs and concerns.