Life as a refugee

World Refugee Day: Helping family members grow together

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

Updated 19 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.

Sewing a better life, one piece at a time

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. The Graduation Approach targets families, through focusing on two members; one youth and one non-youth, to help them find ways to grow and become self-reliant. Through several trainings, families are taught new interpersonal, professional, and financial skills to help them grow economically. On World Refugee Day, we are highlighting the stories of Syrians who found their way to independence and are building better futures for themselves, while helping the economy of their host country.

Back in Syria, Tamam and her husband were able to support their family of eight while working. Tamam had a tailoring shop and her husband used to work in construction. However, since arriving to Jordan, the couple have been struggling to make ends meet.

Due to back problems, my husband was forced to stop working. And after losing all my equipment during the conflict, I could not afford buying new machines to start my business here.

Tamam

Depending on food coupons

Depending on food coupons

For years now, the family has been depending on food coupons and financial aid to make ends meet. “My two eldest sons were forced to stop their education to work. But finding work opportunities is becoming increasingly difficult," Tamam added. The RYSE project, implemented by DRC in her area, was a saving grace for Tamam and her family. “I enrolled with my son and our life has changed since then,” she said.

Through the graduation approach, the RYSE project aims to help family through a series of intensive skills trainings and technical training, along with increasing their financial literacy and giving them opportunities to become self-reliant. Tamam and her son have both attended several group trainings so far, that have changed the way they think. “We have learned to better communicate and express ourselves. We also learned how to set up our businesses and manage our financials,” said Tamam. “We learned so much from RYSE, so has my son.”

We have learned to better communicate and express ourselves. We also learned how to set up our businesses and manage our financials...We learned so much from RYSE, so has my son.

Tamam

Two sewing machines

Two sewing machines

As part of the process of helping families graduate from need to self-reliance, Tamam received a business grant to help start her sewing business.

“I bought two sewing machines and started working on designing and selling clothing items,” she said excitedly.

Today, Tamam makes enough money to support her family with their basic needs and hopes of growing her business. Tamam is a part of a RYSE saving group, created to help families save and allocate the money they have.

“I want to own a workshop and expand my work. I am working on a personal saving project that will help me buy new items that I need as well."

Mother and son growing together

Mother and son growing together

In another area in north Jordan lives Naeema with her husband and their children. Having arrived in Jordan 10 years ago, the couple have struggled to make ends meet.

“When we arrived here, we struggled to start our lives from zero, in a new country; making ends meet, paying rent and even in putting our children through school.”

New opportunities

Naeema and her son Alaa heard about the RYSE project, implemented by the Jordan River Foundation (JRF) in their area. “I learned that the RYSE project supports families and helps them start their business,” said Naeema. “I read that it has two routes, one of which helps us learn skills and find work opportunities,” added her 20-year-old son. The duo started receiving courses and trainings together that covered various aspects of life.

“We learned how to grow our personal skills like communication. We then moved to professional skills and how we can open our businesses and financial literacy."

Having worked in agriculture back in Syria, Naeema chose this as her business idea because she knew she could make it work. While she and her husband could rent a land, they had none of the equipment needed to start. With a business grant, the couple were finally able to purchase the needed equipment and have started with planting Okra.

“Today, my husband and I have a land where we grow and sell our produce. This opportunity has been a saving grace. We want to expand our business and plant different produce."

Building a better future

Building a better future

While Syrian and Jordanian youth continue to face similar challenges like unemployment, low wages, and lack of available sectors, Alaa still dreams of overcoming those challenges and being able to continue studying and graduate from university. “I finished high school and want to continue my education to be able to work and support myself and my family,” said Alaa.

Along with taking courses with his mother where they also learned about labour rights and how to defend themselves and speak out, Alaa also asked the RYSE programme to receive training in culinary arts.

“I have always loved cooking. I want to become a head chef. As a young man entering the job market, I had no skills and no experience to find a job. I am lucky to have found RYSE, which will help me in finding good work opportunities after I finish the vocational training with them.”

For many families, sustainable sources of income and better work opportunities are all what they need to become independent and graduate from poverty so self-reliance. On World Refugee Day, it is vital to remember that Syrian youth can help build better futures for themselves, but they should be given the chance to do so.

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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