The Berlin Pilot Program

Refugees from Syria are seeking haven all over the world. Germany has taken in more than 300,000. Many are teens who came on their own. They have lost nearly everything that matters to them. Still they are eager to integrate.

They need help navigating a foreign land. They need help learning the language and finding a place to belong. To assist them, Questscope is launching a new pilot program in Berlin.

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A Champion at Strike Three

A family with no education. Strike One.

A family in need of a few more dollars, just to make it. Strike Two.

Quitting school to work in an aluminum window company. Strike Three.

Or is it?

Zakaria dropped out at age 14 to get those few more dollars for his family. Working all day bending aluminum into window frames for clients’ kitchens left him no time for friends. Or for school. Shy. And quiet-spoken.

His employer, Abdullah, also had Strike Three against him. He went to work at an early age instead of going to school, and he...MORE

Finding Home

The war in Syria is now in its seventh year. Legions of people have had to flee in order to survive. Thousands of families have been forced to leave behind everything they’ve known.

They've lost the houses and neighborhoods they called home. More devastating, they've lost the people and communities they also called home. Those who survive find themselves caught in a cycle of unrest and uncertainty. 69% of Syrians inside Syria are living in extreme poverty. 

We're working every day to help those displaced by violence and persecution...MORE

The Aqaba Project

You might remember Manal. We introduced you to her last summer. She survived a hellish journey from Syria and narrowly missed being sold into early marriage – and an equally bleak future.

Manal is from Aleppo, Syria. Her dad died a few years ago, and her mom became solely responsible for their family. When it became too dangerous to stay in Aleppo, they left with only the clothes on their back. Now they're living as refugees in Aqaba, Jordan.

There are no jobs...MORE

Buried Treasure

Dropping out of middle school to earn a meager handful of much-needed dollars for his family captured Hamzi in a very bad story.

A bad life-story that will cut his future down to a small size of struggle and second-rate opportunities. But it is also a story of buried treasure.

Hamzi was a good student. Math was his favorite subject – his passion. He had to put this passion on ice, maybe forever, when he dropped out to go to work in construction as a 16-year-old.

And it was hard to see his buddies going on to high school. He was left...MORE

Willow Creek in Za'atari: Part 3

As a pleasantly warm room full of smiling Zumba-ers took a break, the instructor asked us how we felt. 

Two feelings instantly came to mind and I shouted them out: Alive and Together.

We don't share a language, but the common appearance of flushed cheeks and big grins told me that we all felt the same. Our mutual feminine humanity, despite the mixture of culture or faith, effervesced via fast heart beats and a Latin dance beat.

Looking back, it occurs to me that Alive and Together best reflect my entire day at Questscope in...MORE

Willow Creek in Za'atari: Part 2

After spending a day with Questscope staff and volunteers, my entire perception of refugees has shifted. I left in awe of the joy, love and consideration I experienced and observed.

I think Western news often asks us to believe that refugees are under-resourced, under-skilled people who are living in hopeless and dark situations. It was beautiful to see the opposite at Questscope. The people I met were passionate teachers, talented artists, and hopeful souls that welcomed me with open arms. 

I remember my...MORE

The Big Girl Who Can't Read

Rahaf fled Aleppo with her family when missiles started crashing into their neighborhood.

They now share space with others in a communal shelter near Aleppo. Crowded, chaotic, crammed together.

She attends a temporary school there. Due to a learning disability, she is older than the grade level she is in. For other students, she is “the big girl who can’t read.”  It was very hard for 14-year old Rahaf when others made fun of her.  

Making friends was very hard, too. Teen girls, especially in the...MORE

Willow Creek in Za'atari: Part 1

We were five days in to a nine-day trip when we pulled up to the guard post at Za’atari camp in northern Jordan. We’d seen the news stories and heard the statistics: There are 79,000 people living as refugees in temporary housing while they wait for the war to end in Syria or for UN refugee resettlement and placement.

In a place where I was expecting to find hopelessness and defeat, there is indeed unimaginable pain.

But it was at Za’atari, where I learned about how people living as refugees are also living as real-life heroes, as they create the world of...MORE

A Teenager, a Little Baby, and a Big Second Chance

Bayan is 14 and attends alternative education classes in Madaba, Jordan. She really enjoys math and the games she plays to learn mathematical concepts. And her new friends at the alternative education center help her to learn – while they help her take care of her baby girl in the class.

Her baby girl?

Bayan dropped out of school when she was forced into an early marriage. Now she lives in a tent with her unemployed husband and works on a farm for $14 a day as an agricultural laborer.

Talk about having...MORE

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