The King Abdullah Park camp, just 15 kilometres from the Syrian border, is sheltering 921 people, 529 of whom are children under 18. They are receiving assistance from UNICEF, UNHCR, and the World Food Programme.
During their visit, their Royal Highnesses spent time with families in the camp, hearing for themselves about the profound distress that they have been through and the extreme challenges that many now face as they start a new attempt to survive and look after their children.
The royal couple were shown around the camp by UNICEF and UNHCR, which support the Jordanian government to assist the families. Their Royal Highnesses visited a children’s space and met children who had fled Syria with their families.
The Duchess of Cornwall was introduced to children at the centre, who told her that they were drawing pictures of things they miss from home, like their gardens. Her Royal Highness was told that this kind of activity helps children deal with the severe trauma that many have experienced before they fled their country to escape the conflict. In essence, they learn to reconnect and become children again.
UNICEF Representative Dominique Hyde explained to the party that 250 children from the camp are transported every day to a Jordanian state school in a nearby town. The children told Her Royal Highness that it makes them happy to be able to go to school again.
Ms. Hyde then described how UNICEF helps children in the camps on a daily basis. “After all the violence they have witnessed and all the stress they have been through, UNICEF is providing the children of Syria with vital support ranging from safe drinking water, essential vaccines and nutrition, to education, clothing and protection,” she said.
“In this camp alone we are helping more than 250 children to get back into school and reconnect with their childhood. Across Jordan, we support the education of nearly 40,000 children,” she added.
“We hugely welcome the visit of Their Royal Highnesses and thank them both for shining a spotlight on our work, alongside that of the Jordanian Government and all our partners. We also hope that the world’s attention continues to focus on this crisis and that we can receive the support we desperately need to continue our vital and lifesaving work,” she said.
To date, UNICEF’s appeal for children affected by Syria is less than 20 per cent funded. This chronic lack of funding is threatening to leave many Syrian children without essential assistance. Unless an 80 per cent funding gap is bridged UNICEF will be forced to scale back on even life-saving interventions including water provision.