Mrs Yvelyne Wood, Co-Founder and President, UniRef (left) and Dr Ghaida Abu Rumman, President Assistant for International Affairs , Director of Consultation and Community Service Center, Isra University Jordan exchanging the documents after signing an MOU during the Swiss NGO UniRef new project for Jordan refugees in Abu Dhabi yesterday Photo Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Syrian refugees living in Jordanian refugee camps will be offered university education and vocational training as part of a new programme that was launched in Abu Dhabi on Monday.

The initiative is a joint partnership involving Swiss NGO UniRef, The Jordanian Red Crescent and Isra University in Jordan. The signing ceremony for the new project was attended by several dignitaries in the capital including the ambassadors of Jordan, Oman and Afghanistan.

As part of the project, Syrian refugees living in camps including the UAE-funded Emirati Jordanian Camp will be offered 12 month courses in computer science, mobile engineering and logistics management. The subjects will be taught by faculty members from Isra University, with all degrees being officially certified by the Jordanian Ministry of Higher Education, making it possible for Syrian refugees to have formal academic qualifications that can help them find jobs.

The programme will also have an 18-month vocational and training course, which will be provided by the Jordanian Red Crescent and approved by the Jordanian Ministry of Labour and Ministry of Health.

“Today, we are pleased to announce our new initiative that is aimed at taking university courses and vocational training to refugees living in the camps under the protection of the Jordan Red Crescent,” said Yvelyne Wood, co-founder and president of UniRef, who also added that the group chose to sign the agreement in the UAE because of the country’s long standing commitment to providing aid and support to Syrian refugees in Jordan.

“UniRef is a humanitarian, educational and development initiative that offers young refugees the opportunity to be less dependent on humanitarian aid and to take ownership of their own future. Every student who will obtain a university degree or benefit from vocational training, will get a job and not be part of a lost generation anymore,” she said, explaining the long term benefits of providing refugees with an education.

Wood added that the courses would begin in 2019 with an initial 250 students, and that the project would look to accommodate more students over time.

Dr Mohammad Al Hadid, president of the Jordanian Red Crescent, also spoke on the importance of giving Syrian refugees positive hope for the future.

“We have to pay attention to education … If people are not educated they will be open to recruitment by terrorist organisations.

“When they are educated they have a balanced mind, they can think, they can know what is right and what is wrong. [More importantly] we keep them off the list of these terrorist organisations that recruit them and ask them to do things that are against humanity,” he added.