This is a video recently filmed at the Malki Center in Amman. Thank you to Tala Hadavi for making and sharing this report.
In June of 2013 our Children’s Center opened for a pilot session in with 29 students. We were allowed to use a space formerly used by Save the Children, but they ended their program, and let us use the space on a temporary basis.
After that pilot session concluded and was deemed a success, we found a new space and set up the Malki Children’s Center, in Amman. It was opened in November 2013 with the first session beginning in January of 2014, and has expanded to include more mental health treatment for the children. It has been approved by the Jordanian Ministry of Social Development as a social center. It is a program primarily for Syrian refugee children, with 20% of the children being Jordanian.
The Malki Children’s Center serves children from 6 to 12 years old and actively involves parents of the children served in parent committees and discussion groups. Programming includes discussions focused on the well-being, care and learning of their children, knowing that children are best served if parents are part of their growth and development.
The goal of this project is to ensure that children traumatized by exposure to war and violence are able to cope with those experiences and find it possible to achieve their potential. Trauma-sensitive environments benefit all children – those whose trauma history is known, those whose trauma will never be clearly identified and those that have been impacted by their traumatized family, friends or community. This project seeks to ensure that all children we serve will be able to achieve at their highest levels despite whatever traumatic circumstances they may have endured.
Looking forward, the center for children 6 to 12 is a reality but that is only the beginning. There are many more needs that should be met:
- Develop services for older children.
- Because of the health needs of the children and their families the plan is to develop a health clinic in the near future. A health clinic, as an integral part of the Malki Children’s Center, will be designed to assist families with their health needs, be able to respond to special women’s needs as well as health issues related specifically to children. It will concentrate particularly on women’s health issues. In recent discussions Syrian refugee women have expressed their fervent desire for limiting the number of children they will have. This is not a topic that is traditionally discussed. These women felt so strongly that they did not want to bring more children into their world of violence and fear, that they were anxious to find alternatives. But few alternatives are available through most health clinics. The Malki center will include a very strong section on women’s reproductive health.
- Develop more intensive services for women’s participation in the Center that will include relevant discussions of issues women are facing, activities that can make women’s lives easier, develop programs that will assist women in the knowledge of functional numeracy and literacy, knowledge of online / community resources and the development of practical job-related skills. Examples of job-related skills are the following:
- Computer programming and repair
- Office skills
- Social work
- Teacher/Teacher aide
- Techniques of finding, getting and keeping a job
Both parents and children as separate groups can use assistance, but by developing programs and creative responses as an integrative approach takes advantage of relationships and bonding that naturally occur between parents and children and makes recovery stronger. Each group finds strength in the other.
A private contribution specified for this project has made it possible to launch the new center and operate for 1 year. We continue to raise money to maintain the current operations and to eventually expand the staff and resources available to the center.
It’s important for the children get some normalcy back in their lives – going to school, having play time, making new friends, and also having a safe place with psychologists and social workers on hand to help them deal with the heavy burden of so much grief and trauma.
Your support is greatly appreciated!