Refugee youth need higher education to make a positive impact on their host community today and rebuild their home in the future.
Jordan is currently home to 700,000 refugees from Syria, Iraq, and other nationalities (mostly Sudanese and Somali) whose lives have been interrupted by war, violence, and destruction in their home countries. Across Jordan, 29.3% of the Syrian refugee population is ages 18-35.
Before war and devastation twisted their paths, these youth were defining themselves and their futures – were aspiring high school graduates, university students studying for exams, and young professionals eager to use their talents.
Yet, in their host communities, refugees are largely unable to access higher education. In Jordan, local universities are prohibitively expensive for refugees, who cannot legally work and struggle to meet basic needs.
Without education, youth struggle to integrate into their host community and are at higher risk of turning to violence or extremist ideologies, or risking their lives returning to Syria or journeying to Europe. The lack of higher education creates individual desperation with ripple social effects, energy and skills unutilized in the present and lost for the future.
Who will be the doctors, teachers, engineers, and politicians rebuilding Syria and other home countries if the youth are unable to pursue higher education?
*Name changed for privacy