Jordan – Il Bustan Centre

Comprehensive support for refugees


Many Palestinians and Syrians have found refuge in Jordan. Many live in the camp established in 1948 in the Jabal al Hussein district of Amman. The families, often single parents, do not always have the means to pay public school fees, and the children have fallen so far behind because of the war and displacement that they cannot join public schools unless they start in first grade. As a result, some children beg or do odd jobs that are not always legal, and girls are married off at a very young age. Many suffer from psychological trauma but receive no mental health care.

Transforming destinies

The vision of the Il Bustan centre is to offer refugees in the district a holistic approach based on three different pillars:

1. Socialisation

By offering fun and recreational activities, we aim to provide a relaxing learning environment where everyone can develop their talents and open up to others while acquiring new skills. The activities offered to the different target groups could be arts, sports or more technical workshops.

2. Therapy

War leaves its mark, and the trauma it generates is profound. Post-traumatic stress disorder is very common and it is difficult to recover without help. We want to offer therapeutic care in the form of discussion groups for adults. For children, we want to use a programme developed in Lebanon specifically for refugee children. It helps children and pre-teens to regain their confidence and emotional stability. It also reduces their fears and gives them the tools they need to face the future. The programme consists of ten sessions covering a range of themes, including the value of being human, identity and emotions. Each session lasts around one hour and a half, and includes a song that the child memorises and a craft that they take home to share what they have learned with their family during the week.

3. Training

Pre-teens who have dropped out of school are at risk, begging on the streets or doing odd jobs. The centre offers a basic school programme including Arabic, maths and English.

Refugee girls are particularly vulnerable if they don’t have a job, as they risk being married off at a very young age so that they are no longer a burden on their parents. We offer these young girls a one-year paid dual apprenticeship based on the Swiss model (work in the morning and classes in the afternoon) with certification at the end, which will enable them to learn a trade and other skills such as reading, writing, arithmetic and English.

Jürg Schmid

Program coordinator

"From my own experience in local projects, I know how important the people in the background are. This is where PartnerAid makes a valuable contribution."