Healthy Body, Healthy Mind

Thursday 21 May 2015


In December 2012, Hussain his parents and three siblings embarked on a difficult journey from Syria to Jordan. The war in Syria had erupted that year, and expecting it to be a temporary move, Hussain’s parents decided it was safer to leave Syria.


Nearly three years later, Hussain and his family still live in Za’atari camp, the children go to school and his parents are still trying to make their new life feel like home.


“In Syria my days were spent between school, going to the park with my friends and playing different sports,” said Hussain.


“We came to Za’atari thinking we would only stay for 1 week until the situation in Syria was calm again. Everything was difficult to get used to in this desert,” said Hussain.


Hussain joined Save the Children’s Multi-Activity Centre for one month last year, then was forced to quit and start working around the camp to support his family, a price that many Syrian children are forced to pay.   


“In Syria my favorite lesson in school was physical education, and I longed for something to make me feel at home again,” he said. This is when Hussain rejoined the Multi-Activity Centre four months ago because he wanted to benefit from the gym and play sports again.


“Coming to the gym at this centre, I feel like it fills me up with positive energy to be able to continue the rest of my day at peace in the camp,” said Hussain.


Hussain comes to the gym every morning before he heads to school. He teaches Quran at a mosque in the camp at 7:30 every morning then gets ready for the gym and school.


“I prefer to attend the gym early in the morning because it gets too crowded around noon. The centre has taught me to create a daily routine, and with this routine I feel a sense of achievement whether it’s through becoming physically fit or being a teacher at the


mosque,” Hussain shared, “the sense of achievement gives me hope that the future will be brighter.”


Save the Children established and runs four multi-activity centres in Za’atari camp, benefitting over 2,000 adolescents. The gender segregated centres offer youth a safe space where they can engage and benefit from informal education, sports and various psychosocial support activities. Providing the children in Za’atari camp with a sense of normalcy remains essential to their wellbeing and to that of their community.


“I remember feeling miserable during my first months in Za’atari, but by participating in different activities here and making friends at this centre, I’ve grown and now have a positive outlook on my life in the camp,” said Hussain.