Feedback from our Partner Organizations
The organisations we worked with have been praising the work IAHV has done with the children under their care. The Youth Coordinator from the SOS village informed us that their kids are more confident, calmer, and more hopeful towards their future. The supervisors of the youngest age group were very vocal about their appreciation for the positive energy boost we have instilled in their children. They also observed that earlier the children would separate themselves into groups according to nationality, with the Syrians on one side and the Jordanians on the other. Now they all sit together, sharing stories from their training, playing games, and practising the techniques that were shared with them by our trainers.
Other changes reported by our partner organizations include reduced violence, increased school participation, and restored optimism.
Stories from the Trainings (YAVAP Girls):
A 14-year-old Syrian who is living with conservative parents: On the first day she cried, because her parents push her to be perfect, but she cannot: “I cannot get 100% on exams, only 98. If you ask me to dance, I won’t, because I know I will fail. If you ask me to sing, I cannot, because I won’t know word by word what the lyrics are.” Afraid of failure, she refused to try while other girls were singing. For the last night of the training, she asked her parents if she could stay the night. After receiving permission, she packed her stuff and strutted happily the next day. That night, after learning that you need to live the moment as it comes, she got up to dance. First she was scared, but when she saw the encouragement from everyone around her, the clapping and the smiles, she let loose. It was her first time dancing, ever. She didn’t know what to do with her body, hips, hands and legs, but she didn’t care. She just moved, laughed and shook with happiness, saying she finally felt free.
A 16-year-old Jordanian orphan: very athletic and energetic, but constantly running around and very hyper. When you see her, you see pure confidence, but when you get closer, she pushes you aside. As the days went by, her tough act was dropped and her vulnerable side showed. After getting into a fight with one of the other girls, she stood for 10 minutes choking on her apology. Upon finally saying it, she collapsed, crying, repeating the words “I’m sorry”. That same night, she interacted more with the girls. Before, the girls would blast music and dance each night, but she would shrug and tell us it wasn’t her thing. That night, however, she joined in, stood front line, and danced like she has never done before.
A 16 year old, very conservative and quiet Syrian refugee girl: Her parents wanted her to benefit fully from the experience and to stay all nights at the camp in order to increase her confidence, so she was the only Syrian present at night. The first night around the bonfire she was scared, looking at everyone clapping and singing and having a good time. When we asked her what her favorite song was, so we could sing it for her to enjoy, she blankly stared back and whispered: “I don’t know any music, all I know is the Quran.” That same night, she slept with her hijab on, scared of judgement and punishment if she would let go. Each day and after every session, her voice was getting louder. By the last day, she was sharing opinions and her voice was being heard. At the last bonfire, she played the Arabic drums herself, banging on them enthusiastically, urging everyone to sing so she could try to follow their rhythm. After watching a film about overcoming obstacles and knowing your true talents, she was the first one to comment, loudly, saying: “Life throws many challenges your way, and it is up to you to take it, and turn it into something productive.”
A 16-year-old orphan living in the SOS villages: People around her claimed she was very violent and aggressive. Her supervisor stated that once she is triggered, she is like an ‘untamed bull’. 6 years ago, her father, not sober, beat her mother to death in front of her, and turned himself in. Ever since then, any threatening situation triggers those memories and she attacks. A little comment from a friend at camp triggered her anger and she lashed out and scratched her face. After sitting and talking, she mentioned the techniques of the training and calmed down, saying:
“In these few days, I have learned to forgive my father, and move on with my life. Life goes on, and if you don’t move with it, your memories will suffocate you. I forgive him, I forgive my friend. Life is too short.”