Saif Aldebese is a 27-year-old Jordanian working for World Vision in Azraq, a Syrian refugee camp in Northern Jordan. Azraq houses over 36,000 refugees, 57% of which are children. It is Aldebese’s job to give these children an outlet to play, learn, and move beyond the trauma of the war they fled. “I focus on the psycho-social development of kids and use sports to help them be present in the moment,” he says.
Yesterday, Aldebese was helping me translate a conversation I was having with a young Syrian girl. I asked her “What do you remember about the war in Syria?” When I asked the question I could see Aldebese get uncomfortable. He started to ask her the question, and then paused. He looked back at me. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I am not comfortable asking that question.” “Why?” I asked.
“We work so hard to get these kids to forget about the war,” said Aldebese. “They have encountered many difficulties, like loss of a parent or brother, hunger, pain, destruction of houses, and killings. We use play to get them to forget because these children need to live decent and happy days and get out of pain and hatred.”