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Jordan has taken a lead humanitarian role in assisting Syrian refugees throughout the
ongoing Syrian crisis. Coming up on almost 3 years since the conflict began, the
country has been resolute in its commitment towards its neighbour and in providing
adequate care and relief aid to the Syrian refugees. However a recent report indicates
that cracks have started to appear.

Camps like Zataari Refugee Camp are now struggling to keep up with the day to day
operations due to the massive influx of people coming in from the other side of the
border. The problem is further compounded by insufficient monetary funds and relief
aid that is needed to adequately accommodate the needs of the refugee camp.

A recent report by UNHCR has identified some areas of concerns that apply to all
refugee camps throughout Jordan collectively. This will be the topic of discussion
today as we highlight these key areas that are getting affected due to lack of funds
and abundance of refugees.

Lack of Education for Refugee Children

Education took a direct hit in the last few months. There are over 500,000 refugees
currently living in Jordan. The Zataari Camp accommodates over 130,000 of them.
Like many camps, it also has a makeshift school where Syrian children of different
ages can receive an education according to their grade. However, with so many
children pouring into these camps, the schools have run out of space as well as
teachers. There are an estimated 200,000 children who are currently unable to pursue
their education as result.

Substandard Medical Facilities

Ensuring proper care is becoming a near impossible task at refugee camps. People
who need medical attention far outnumber the ground staff and the available
equipment. Some of these are mild cases of cold and flu due to the extremely cold
weather in the region this time of year. However, several refugees come in with
injuries sustained while fleeing Syria. These injuries require surgery, as well as
antibiotics and other medicines. Hospitals are reporting an across the board
shortage. In addition, 60% of the mental health disorders are left undiagnosed and
there are fears that levels of depression and anxiety are rising.

Poor Security
The refugee camps have expanded enormously over the last few years; some to such
an extent that they resemble complete cities rather than refugee camps. There is a
proper downtown area in the Zataari Refugee Camp now. That alone should give
people an idea of just how much it has expanded over the years. This sort of
expansion has come at a huge cost of safety and security. Refugee camps have a
specific amount of resources allocated for such purposes. The larger it becomes, the
more difficult it is to cover that ground. There have been reports of theft and assault
on the outer boundaries of some camps. The situation is so dire in some areas that
security doesn’t even venture there at all.

The solution to all this dilemma is of course money. Hundreds of millions of dollars
have been spent on humanitarian efforts in Syria. There is an ever present need to
provide more relief for Syria to purchase books, clothes, blankets, medicine and
accommodation for the refugees.

The ride of her life: Syrian refugee's perilous journey — in a wheelchair

Nujeen Mustafa lives in the kind of a boring German suburb that most 17-year-olds
could not wait to escape. The streets in Wesseling are lined with neatly trimmed
hedgerows and even more neatly parked cars. There are new houses and vast
gardens with not a child playing in sight.

A year ago, Nujeen completed a 3,500-mile journey from Syria to Germany in a

cumbersome steel-frame wheelchair. Her adventure involved dodging masked
Islamic extremist fighters, navigating Mediterranean waters, and fending off packs of
wild dogs. Now the wheelchair is folded up on the porch, and she sits in the living
room of the apartment she shares with two sisters and four nieces.

Nujeen was born on New Year’s Day 1999 in Manbij in northern Syria. She is the
youngest of a Kurdish family of 11. Her pride in her cultural identity as a Kurd, an
ethnic group in the Middle East, is fierce. This pride has shaped her view on her
country’s descent into civil war. As the Syrian population divided into supporters and
opponents of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, “the Kurds had their own side as
they couldn’t trust anyone,” Nujeen wrote recently in a book about her life. Called
"Nujeen: One Girl's Incredible Journey from War-torn Syria in a Wheelchair," this
memoir was co-written with the journalist Christina Lamb.

Islamic State Less Than 100 Miles Away

More than a year ago the Islamic State set up its headquarters in Raqqa, less than
100 miles from Manbij. The Islamic State is an extremist group that wants to start its
own country under Islamic law. Its fighters have taken over parts of Syria and Iraq.

Nujeen and her siblings knew that as members of Syria’s largest ethnic minority they
would be in danger. Her family decided to flee Syria for Turkey.

For Nujeen, the journey was particularly hard. She has grown up with a condition
known as “tetra-spasticity” and cannot control her legs. “They kick up when I am
speaking, my ankles turn inwards, my toes point downwards, my heels point up, and I
can’t walk," she says. "I am forever stuck on tiptoes.”

Nujeen learned to make up for it with an exceptional intellectual curiosity. In Syria,

she watched nonstop satellite TV: Disney cartoons, science documentaries, football
matches. But it was discovering the Internet that changed Nujeen’s life. “I would go
on to YouTube and look up the most famous pieces of music in the world, or the
most famous museums," she says.

Learning English From TV

Nujeen learned English by watching an American soap opera called "Days Of Our
Lives." Speaking English turned out to be very helpful as she and her siblings made
their way from Turkey to Greece, then through Macedonia to Serbia, Hungary,
Croatia, Slovenia, Austria and eventually Germany. Nujeen's parents did not make the
trip with them; instead, they stayed in a Turkish city north of Syria.

Her worst memory of the entire trek across Europe is the five-hour line at the
German border. “I am a very impatient person. I like everything to be perfect, and if
things aren’t perfect, then I can be very annoying," she says.

Germany had always been the final destination of their journey. When Nujeen was
pushed over the river Saalach on the Austrian-German border on September 21 last
year, she became one of just over a million refugees who entered the country in

Last October, she enrolled at a school for children with disabilities. She initially
struggled with the unfamiliar educational system but has become fluent in German
at a frightening speed.

Dreams Of Being An Astronaut

She has started to make friends at school, even though the children in her class are
two years younger than she is. Recently, she says, she has even started dreaming of
them rather than the war. Becoming an astronaut is her long-term goal. “But if it
doesn’t work out, I still have my imagination,” she says. She has recently developed
an interest in geography and biology and is determined to go on to university in

Nujeen has applied for asylum in Germany. If granted, it would protect her as a
political refugee and allow her to stay in the country. Almost a year after arriving in
Germany, Nujeen is still waiting for the residence permit that would let her live there.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently announced that all refugees who arrived
last year would be registered by the end of September. For Nujeen, time is running
out. She has only three months, until she turns 18, to apply for her parents to be
reunited with her in Germany.

"A Waiting Expert"

Nujeen is optimistic, though, explaining via email that she has become "a waiting

Most of Nujeen's family and friends are now based in Europe. Still, Nujeen follows
the news of what is going on at home -- mostly because she can't avoid hearing
about it.

“It’s horrible what’s happening in the world now," she says. "One of my basic rules is
that no one is born evil or bad, and I think watching the news will make the basics of
this principle shake. We need a major, major thing to restore our faith in humanity
now, but I still have hope. When you keep hope, you are pretty much in a good