YOUTH VOLUNTEERS IN ZAATARI TRANSFORM FORMAL COMMUNAL KITCHENS INTO COMMUNITY SPACES TO MARK WORLD REFUGEE DAY
By Waed Shukri Shawamreh, Zaatari Camp
Zaatari Camp – 20 June 2016 – Youth volunteers from Zaatari Camp have concluded the renovation of twelve former communal kitchens as part of a community led initiative to adapt the un-used facilities for use in a range of community activities.
The volunteers, who were provided with technical support and guidance by UNHCR, its partners, and professional artists residing in the Camp over the last three months, took a lead role in consultations with the community on the future use of the facilities which will be solely managed by refugee themselves.
Reflecting upon his involvement in the initiative, Ismail Hariri, a well-known community artist highlighted: “It’s great to have been able to support youth who are working on this project. The artwork that we have been producing together here is of great value to the community making the neighbourhood a colourful and attractive place to live. “
Hovig Etyemezian, Zaatari Camp Manager noted: “The innovation and creatively shown by the youth volunteers is a wonderful example of how the community continues to prioritize and respond to their own needs. UNHCR and its partners in Zaatari continue to champion the important of placing refugees at the heart of our collective efforts, promoting self-reliance and resilience amongst the camp’s residents.”
In Zaatari, the refugee community are playing an increasing prominent role in refining their own needs and coordinating community based services, with the administrative support of humanitarian partners supporting community based activities in the Camp.
Following the transition from communal to household level cooking facilities, shared kitchen spaces that served the needs of refugee families during the early life of the camp have been either demolished, or rehabilitated to support the communities priority needs. The new community facilities will now host community gatherings; a platform for engagement between the humanitarian community and camp population, together with training and recreational activities.