The Za'atari Refugee Camp in Jordan was always supposed to be temporary.
But five years later, the camp is home to almost 80,000 refugees. More than half are children, and many have been here since the very beginning.
Our CEO, Paul Ronalds, was in Za'atari right now. Here, he talks about his experience meeting one of Za'atari’s children.
I met with Nizar* today at Save the Children’s youth centre in Za'atari Refugee Camp. Nizar is 15 years old and he has been living in Za'atari for nearly 5 years. He begins by telling me how grateful he is to the King of Jordan who has welcomed him and his family to this country.
Nizar is from Homs in Syria, but he fled with his family after they were caught up in the conflict.
*Name changed to protect identity.
He tells me he witnessed a massacre. People blown up into small pieces, he said. It’s hard to know how to respond to such a matter-of-fact statement. There was an awkward silence between us and I eventually told him how sorry I was he had to live through an experience like that.
Nizar attends our youth centre. It is part of one of our programs. He has drawn a picture of a plane dropping bombs next to a human figure saying: “My right to live in peace.”
After the massacre in Homs, Nizar and his family fled and stayed in an abandoned building until his father arranged for them to travel to the Jordanian border, and on to Za'atari. The journey, he tells me, took nearly two days.
I asked Nizar, what is his hope for the future? He tells me all that he really wants is to return to his beloved country.