UNICEF celebrates innovation and enterprising spirit of Syrian youth

‘Start-Up Za’atari’ is part of the UNICEF X ONE Humanitarian Changemakers Lab, a new partnership sponsored by Ireland’s The One Foundation through UNICEF Ireland

 

DUBLIN/ZA’ATARI REFUGEE CAMP, JORDAN 10 May 2017 – The first ever ‘Start-Up Za’atari’ event, held by The One Foundation and UNICEF to showcase and unleash the talent and potential of young people in Za’atari Refugee Camp in Jordan, concluded in recent days following two days of social innovation exhibitions and workshops.

‘Start-Up Za’atari’ is part of the UNICEF X ONE Humanitarian Changemakers Lab, a new partnership sponsored by The One Foundation to equip vulnerable youth in Jordan with the knowledge and business skills needed to design their own solutions to everyday challenges and to promote entrepreneurship and jobs.

“We are very excited to be part of this event celebrating the energy and innovation of youth in Za’atari,” said The One Foundation. “The ONExUNICEF Humanitarian Changemaker Labs Jordan is providing talented young people in Jordan with transferrable skills and a path to contribute economically to a better future for themselves and the region.”

UNICEF’s newest (and youngest) Goodwill Ambassador, Muzoon Almellehan (20), who lived for years in the Za’atari, Refugee Camp with her family sent a message to participants: “This is exactly the type of opportunity I was looking for when I was in Za’atari Refugee Camp. Young people in this camp will benefit enormously from this development. Young people in particularly need this support to help them cope and learn the skills needed to rebuild Syria. Congratulations to The One Foundation and to UNICEF on this collaboration.”

The One Foundation has provided a grant, through UNICEF Ireland, for the initiative in Jordan, which will allow talented youth to develop their skills and ideas on how to be changemakers in their communities, while transforming services that are provided for vulnerable and crisis-affected populations.

“UNICEF is excited to partner with The One Foundation to empower vulnerable young refugees in Jordan to create positive change in their communities and in their own lives,” said UNICEF’s Representative in Jordan, Robert Jenkins.

During the start-up event, over 100 young people participated in skills workshops – including robotics, creative visioning, fashion design and artificial intelligence – designed to foster their creativity and empower them to become co-creators, rather than recipients, of the products and services that impact their lives in the camp.

Executive Director of UNICEF Ireland, Peter Power says: “UNICEF Ireland is very proud of our association with The One Foundation and of what is has achieved for Syrian children affected by the ongoing conflict inside Syria.  Youth are at risk of becoming the forgotten victims of humanitarian crisis. By providing them with innovative social entrepreneurship skills they need to make a lasting sustainable impact for many years, we can prevent a lost generation.”

The event was supported by a dozen organisations in Jordan, and by individuals who volunteered their time to inspire and motivate young people in the camp. Exhibitions, pitch competitions, performances and inspiring talks demonstrated how social innovation can contribute to building an inclusive and resilient community in the wider Za’atari community, and beyond.

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Note to editors

The following organisations and individuals generously donated their time to make ‘Start-up Za’atari’ a success: Global Shapers Amman, ZINC, Localized, Aseel Qawasmi, Dezain Space, Civic, Turquoise Mountain, Shamal Start, Lifelong AI, Save the Children Jordan, Startups Without Borders, Bara Wahbeh.

 

About The One Foundation

The One Foundation is a privately-funded Irish foundation based in Dublin.

 

About UNICEF

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, to build a better world for everyone.

For more information, visit www.unicef.ie

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook

 

For more information, please contact:

Aedín Donnelly, UNICEF Ireland, 085 1395272, aedin@unicef.ie

Miraj Pradhan, UNICEF Jordan, +962-79-021-4191, mpradhan@unicef.org

 

ENDS

Photo: “By our nature, girls are innovative…We are here as an example to other girls to show how we can use our creativity,” Anwar (L), 14 said at the ‘Start-Up Za’atari’ event in Za’atari refugee camp, Jordan, May 2018