A group of 27 youth aged 11-17, who managed to escape the violence of their homeland, are now trapped without their parents in living quarters they cannot leave for risk of deportation, with nothing more to do than wait for court dates. The court meetings will decide their futures: either they achieve legal refugee status in the US and the chance to rebuild their lives, or they return to the constant violence and danger they suffered in their home country.
For legal reasons, we cannot mention their names or exact location.
As some of you may know, Chris Udall, CEO/founder of Rebuild for Peace, recently left Jordan to fundraise in the US. While he was working on the funds for the fundraising trip, he was alerted to the situation of these youth and was asked to train them in conflict resolution as part of their education to be productive members of their new society.
The children are currently under the protection of an organisation whose facility includes a school, and medical, dental and counselling services on-site. There are also religious and recreational activities for the youth. However, due to their difficult life circumstances and the failure of their home government's education system, many had never previously gained formal recognition for any of their accomplishments in their entire life.
So Rebuild for Peace decided to train and certify the youth in peace-building and conflict resolution. Chris’s degree is in conflict resolution, and the training he provided included how to deal with conflict, and seeing others how they see themselves to become service oriented individuals.
However, as well as the practical skills learnt through the course, this certificate is an important symbol for the young refugees. It is a symbol that people outside of their community care about them and their struggle, and, equally importantly, that people recognise their ability to learn, work, and become valuable and contributing members of society. It is a symbol that, whatever their legal situation, we and those who support us will always strive to make sure that all humans are given the care and attention that we all need and deserve.
Perhaps that’s why, after the training was completed and the certificates were awarded, each one of the 27 students got cheers with the volume and enthusiasm normally reserved for people graduating from college.