MAFRAQ, Jordan, April 2015 – “You stole my first eye and the second eye. Don’t put your hands on my children,” screams Hamed. The passion in this drama rehearsal reflects the reality on the ground, explains the 17-year old from Homs, Syria. He is acting as the wife in a play about domestic violence.
“It talks about everyone. We found a lot of families have problems like that. We need people to see the play and to share their problems,” says Hamed.
The rehearsal is taking place at an ‘Adolescent Friendly Space’ supported by UNICEF and run by the NGO, International Medical Corps (IMC), in Mafraq, northern Jordan. The center provides opportunities for informal learning and psychosocial support through activities such as drama, art and music.
Hamed fled his home when the war in Syria reached their doorstep 3-years ago. But the conflict had put a stop to his education before then. “I left school about 5-years ago. Since the war started in Syria,” explains Hamed. “I want to continue my education. I want to be more than just a guy. I want to be important in life,” he adds.
For young people who have lived through war and displacement, such as Hamed, the center offers learning opportunities, as well as an environment for self-expression, relationship building and integration within the wider community.
There is an air of confidence in the room despite the boys having only one week until their performance at the Municipal Theatre in Mafraq. “We need to make it a good play. Because we need to convince,” says Hamed. The intensity of the rehearsal suggests that they will have no problem doing just that.
The drama clearly helps provide Hamed with a focus to his days living in Jordan. But when he is asked about his biggest challenge to everyday life, he answers, “Stay alive, stay alive, to stay alive.”
Activities at the ‘Adolescent Friendly Space’ in Mafraq and across the country are possible with funding from UKAID, the Government of Germany and Canada.