Below is an excerpt from a post written by one of our mission participants. She is a landscape architecture design student at the University of Washington and wrote her master’s thesis on providing a safe and nurturing physical environment for the children of Zaatari Camp in Jordan. Please click the link at the bottom to read the complete post, which a summary of the project, with links to further information about the project.
Healing and Empowering Syrian Children in the Za’atari Refugee Camp
In the midst of refugee camps and suffering from difficult journeys necessitated by war, Syrian children suffer from traumas, uncertainty and unhealthy environments for their growth. Early adversarial exposures can change the development of the brain and can lead to subsequent psychological problems that make it harder for children to effectively immerse themselves in the education process as they grow. A close look at most refugee camps around the world reveals constraints in physical environments that impose and limit the natural development of children.
This post is a summary of a thesis project titled “Oasis of Resilience.” This thesis examined the Al-Za’atari refugee camp in northern Jordan, which is home to more than 100,000 Syrian refugees, and proposed a design to better the environment for children in general.
Within this camp, children constitute over half of the population, yet there are few designated places to escape the camp’s stressful life and to provide safety. Safety and respite from harsh conditions are essential to childhood development. However, in order to support children to overcome their trauma and empower them to move forward, design thinking should be integrated to enrich the few opportunities they have.