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Children from Jordan, Syria, Iraq and Palestine celebrate World Refugee Day

By Muath Freij - Jun 24,2014 - Last updated at Jun 24,2014

AMMAN –– Jordanian, Syrian, Palestinian and Iraqi children put all their troubles behind them and made new friends at a day of fun organised by Save the Children Jordan (SCJ) on Monday to mark World Refugee Day.  

The day is an opportunity for refugees to make their voices heard all over the world, SCJ CEO Manal Wazani said. 

“This occasion helps highlight the suffering they face,” she told The Jordan Times during the event, which was supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and included activities such as face painting, games and kite flying.   

“We wanted to give children a day of fun and celebration, and we wanted the refugees to play and enjoy this day with Jordanian children,” Wazani noted. 

“The area where the event took place [Al Nuzha suburb in east Amman] is home to many Jordanian and refugee children,” she said, adding that the organisers wanted refugees to act like normal children and forget the burden they are forced to carry.

Claudia Niederer, a programme officer at the SDC, said it is important for children to have a space where they can enjoy their time.

“It does not matter from [where] they’re coming, they are just having fun together and that’s great,” she told The Jordan Times.

Niederer noted that the SDC started operating in Jordan in 2001 by supporting Palestinian refugees. 

“We started supporting Syrian refugees by having several projects for them including cash assistance and education,” she added.

In June 2012, the SDC began a project with the Education Ministry for the education of Syrian refugees, according to Niederer.  

“With the Ministry Of Education, we rehabilitated several schools, starting in the northern region... We rehabilitated around 29 schools all over the Kingdom, because we believe that education is one of the tools towards child protection.”

Abdul Salam Atawneh, a Jordanian who brought his daughter to take part in the event, said Jordanian children are in need of entertainment because there is a lack of such recreational activities in the capital. 

“All children in Jordan, including refugees, need such events so that they enjoy their time and forget the difficulties of life.” 

Atawneh noted that these events help integrate Syrian children into Jordanian society and help them find new friends. 

Meanwhile, Niederer said the SDC signed a cooperation agreement with Save the Children Switzerland and international branches to support internally displaced Iraqi children.

“We are very much concerned about the situation in Iraq,” she added. 

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