Life as a refugee

Helping youth become their own

The mission of the RYSE Consortium is to provide support and sustainable solutions for the challenges faced by youth from Syria and Jordan, as well as their families.

Updated 01 Jun 2022

The RYSE Consortium is dedicated to helping Syrian and Jordanian youth, and their families, find better and sustainable solutions to their challenges.

The RYSE Consortium is dedicated to helping Syrian and Jordanian youth, and their families, find better and sustainable solutions to their challenges.

Learning how to speak up

11 years on, more than 650,000 Syrian refugees remain in Jordan, half of which are aged between 14 to 24 years old. Strengthening the resilience of refugee and Jordanian youth and working towards sustainable solutions for them live and work in dignity remains a priority. 

The “Resilient Youth, Socially and Economically” (RYSE) Consortium is a partnership led by the Danish Refugee Council (DRC), and includes Jordan River Foundation, Generations for Peace, Mercy Corps and INJAZ, with funding from the Novo Nordisk Foundation. 

With the aim of helping young Syrian refugees and vulnerable Jordanians affected by the Syrian crisis, the three-year programme is built to empower youth with its two main programmatic pillars; Civic Engagement and the Graduation Approach, which is the first of its kind to be implemented in Jordan. We are highlighting the stories of youth who found their way to independence and are building better futures for themselves, while helping the economy of their host country.

18-year-old Ibrahim’s story is mirrored in thousands of Syrian youth across the country. Originally from Daraa, Syria, Ibrahim struggled to fit in when his family first moved to Zarqa, a governorate in the East of Jordan.

“I felt like an outsider. I still feel like that sometime, but it is getting better."

Like many his age, Ibrahim struggled in speaking out and did not have enough confidence to express himself freely, that is until he enrolled in RYSE's programmes, implemented under Generations for Peace.

Speaking up

Speaking up

As part of the civic engagement pillar under RYSE, youth are taught interpersonal skills that allow them to grow. “We learned how to become leaders, to think outside of the box and to find solutions to the problems we face,” he added. “Beyond that, it was also a socialising opportunity, something that I lacked before the RYSE project.”

Ibrahim was most excited about learning how to debate. “It was one of the first things we learned. We were taught how to best articulate our thoughts and that was an enlightening skill to learn,” said Ibrahim excitedly. Ibrahim is taking what he learned and is using it on a daily basis.

“I learned how to speak up. I learned how to communicate with those around me, and this will hopefully continue to help me as I grow."

Ibrahim is now preparing for graduating from high school and is planning to study Pharmaceutical Sciences.

"Along with this, I would also love to learn a skill. I enjoy cooking and want to be a pastry and sweets chef,” he added with a smile.

Growing and helpingothers grow

Growing and helpingothers grow

In Ramtha, a district in Irbid in north of Jordan, 23-year-old Mouayad is learning new skills and gaining new knowledge every day and is transferring this knowledge to other youth members in his community.

“I have been working as a volunteer with several local organisations for the past five years. When I first heard about RYSE, I was fascinated with how different it was from all the other programmes.” Said Mouayad.

As part of the civic engagement route under the RYSE project, implemented by Jordan River Foundation (JRF), Mouayad has been learning how to grow interpersonal skills through technology.

“I first attended the Transformative Leadership Training, we then moved to Civic Activities through Technology and Innovation. We also took other trainings including renewable energy. We learned how technology can help youth in building better lives,” added Mouayad. 

Linking technology with personal skills

Mouayad is now working in a local learning centre with JRF where he passes his knowledge to others.

“We help them change the way they think, and we continue to build on the knowledge we learned,” he said. However, this does not come without challenges of its own.

“Both Syrian and Jordanian youth face similar challenges like unemployment and this is an international problem that is not confined to Jordan alone. In Jordan, youth also struggle with technology. Most of them do not even know how to use a computer,” he said. “While the whole world is making continuous improvements in technology, our youth struggle to keep up with the basics.”

However, even with all the challenges he faces, Mouayad believes in the importance of such programming.

“Linking technology with personal skills is something I found to be very fascinating, and something that is introduced by RYSE. I have the chance to help people change the way they learn and thereafter, change the way they think.”

Mouayad is passionate about helping others and dreams of doing more. He is now going back to finish high school and wants to studying medicine, where he can support others still, albeit it in another way!

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Finding a way to personal and professional growth

Finding a way to personal and professional growth

Upon coming to Jordan in 2013, and even at a young age, Mohammed and his brother have had to work to support their family of seven. “We have been working in the interior design field ever since we arrived in Jordan. It is still the field we work in till this day, but we have certainly grown,” said Mohammed.

While Mohammed had graduated with an interior design degree, he has struggled to grow his business. “We faced so many challenges while growing our business and have lost so much money in the process, but most importantly, we lacked the knowledge of labour law and our rights as service providers,” he said. Getting introduced to RYSE, implemented by Mercy Corps in his area, Mohammed found it an exciting opportunity to learn.

Learning about rights

Through RYSE, Mohammed has received several trainings that helped him learn new skills to grow his business, and to grow as a person.

“We received several trainings that provided us with information on entrepreneurship, interpersonal skills, and communications,” said Mohammed.

“But most importantly, we learned about our rights as workers and service providers and how to ensure we are always treated fairly.”

Today, through a small business grant from RYSE project, Mohammed is working to expand his business.

“I need better equipment to be able to take on bigger and better opportunities,” he added.

Loaded with knowledge he gained from the courses he received, and with new ways to better market his business, Mohammed’s dreams are only growing.

“I want my business to become one of the leaders in the field. I know I can get it there,” finished Mohammed with a smile.

RYSE: About the project

The RYSE (Resilient Youth, Socially & Economically) project is a flagship multi-stakeholder partnership including Jordan River Foundation, Generations for Peace, Mercy Corps, INJAZ, and DRC (Danish Refugee Council) as grant holder.

The Novo Nordisk Foundation is the donor.

RYSE engages 25,000 Syrian refugees and vulnerable young Jordanians affected by the Syrian crisis who will be the beneficiaries of a 3-year program (2020-2022) empowering the youth socially and economically. 

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