A Year of Asserting our Voices

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2014-A year of evolution and change, a year when Voice transitioned from a camp setting to host communities. Leaders were created, voices were heard and needs were met. ARDD-Legal Aid proudly recruited 10 community facilitators who served as leaders to help mobilize Syrian refugees residing in the urban centers of Amman, Zarqa and Mafraq. Each community facilitator meets with their community group to keep them up to date on issues affecting the refugee community and to help raise awareness of refugee rights and entitlements.

In March, ARDD-Legal Aid and Voice program participants commemorated the third anniversary of the Syrian Crisis by a candlelight vigil. Community group members helped collect stories and created a collage of pictures in memory of the events in Syria.

Community facilitators played a major role in identifying the lack of educational opportunities for Syrian youth in Zarqa and in response ARDD-Legal Aid launched the Voices of the Future summer program. This summer program lasted over 4 weeks and focused on education, art and leadership skills. Over 70 Jordanian and Syrian children were reached through this project. The older students learned how to assert their rights, communicate with others and to be an effective leader.  They worked to identify problems in their community, only to realize that both Syrian and Jordanian youth identified the same problems.

The Voices project’s largest campaign this year was the 16 Days of Activism working to end violence against women and gender-based violence. The Voice team supported by ARDD-Legal Aid’s gender unit conducted five awareness sessions on 16 Days of Activism and how to effectively advocate for their needs. These workshops reached over 75 beneficiaries across Jordan. The Voices team conducted multiple trainings throughout the year building on the capacity of Syrian refugees so that they can better utilize their human capital. Trainings included thematic issues like gender rights, legal refugee rights and practical skills like community mobilization. These trainings served as an important link to strengthen the voices of the Syrian refugee community in Jordan.

Several community facilitators were able to advocate on their communities’ behalf at ARDD-Legal Aids Karama Human Rights Film Festival panel discussion entitled “Safe Spaces: at Home and in Displacement.” The panel also included experts from around the region in the fields of gender and displacement.

In collaboration with Syrious Mission, Voices ran six song workshops in November and December. These sessions worked with 25-30 Syrian and Jordanian youth in Zarqa. They created two songs under the theme “safe spaces” and presented it to audience of the Karama Film Festival. A short film was also created from this event.

ARDD-Legal Aid also conducted outreach and advocacy via media and conferences. Voices beneficiaries were interviewed on Orient TV expressing their aspirations, needs and concerns. ARDD-Legal aid staff presented papers on refugees both domestically and international to help advocate on the behalf of refugees in Jordan.

ARDD-Legal Aid remains committed to serving vulnerable communities in Jordan, both Syrians and Jordanians, and hopes that 2015 will restore dignity to the millions of Syrians who have been displaced by armed conflict.

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