An hour’s drive away from Jordan’s capital city Amman, around twenty toddlers paint patterns in watercolours on paper. Colourful cardboard bees and portraits look down on the children’s activities from the walls. Gaudy toys sit on the shelves for children to play with.
The colours of the early education centre creates a strict contrast with the surrounding environment. The centre built in a shelter is located at the Azraq refugee camp where white steel shelters continue in regular queues as far as the eye can see. There is nothing green in the desert landscape.
A total of 54,000 Syrian refugees have registered at the camp, a tenth of which are under the age of five. Only organisations and associations provide early care and education for them. This centre works because of the cooperation efforts of Plan International and Finn Church Aid.
“I like to play here. I dream of having a big red teddy bear all to myself that I could sleep with,” says Amira* who is four years old.
Amira’s mother Aisha*, 21, tells that the little girl is scared of the sounds of airplanes as they remind her of the bombings and that Amira is having difficulty sleeping. The early education centre creates stability and routines in Amira’s life. Also the snacks given to the children at the end of the day at the centre help the family.
A large red backpack bounces on the back of a small girl as Amira exits the gate in the wirenetting fence and starts walking towards her home shelter.