#MeWeIntl Middle East Programming began as #MeWeSyria with a group of 20 refugee youth in Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan in 2014, with pilot funding provided by Germany. The initial pilots of #MeWeSyria focused on music and filmmaking.
Refugee youth worked in teams to write and film their own short stories about topics and issues they cared about. More than 6 short films—produced by refugee youth—were featured at the Young Eyes art gallery in Amman, Jordan. A follow up exhibit was organized by local partner Questscope inside the Zaatari refugee camp for the community. More than 100 youth and parents attended. Youth and parents noted that the process of creation and representation improved their perspectives, real to shops, and goals.
Since then, #MeWeIntl has funded the scaling of #MeWeSyria through Questscope and Syrian facilitators in the refugee camp. The Syrian community facilitators inside Zaatari refugee have innovated the program, and reached thousands of refugee youth and caregivers at the Questscope Changemaker Space.
The #MeWeSyria program today syncs communications skills-building with neuro-education and mental health and psychosocial support concept for improving emotion regulation and goal-setting. Over the years, allies like neuroscientist Mike Niconchuk, and community programmer Maureen Jane MacPhail have introduced into #MeWeIntl’s programs and trainings expert knowledge from the fields of mental health, community building, and neuroscience.
What began with a small group of Syrian refugees in 2014 has today expanded to more than 12 countries, thanks in large part to the creativity and leadership of the core #MeWeSyria teams in Zaatari refugee camp. #MeWeIntl has trained more than 30 Syrian refugees to lead our #MeWeSyria program, and this network of refugee community facilitators has reached more than 2,000 youth and caregivers across Zaatari and Azraq refugee camps.
The COVID 19 pandemic has not stopped our innovation and scaling of programs inside refugee camps. Throughout 2020, thanks to our network of community facilitators in the Middle East, #MeWeIntl have now designed and piloted virtual programs and community interventions.