Children lead waste management gathering through music and poetry

By Dominique Monera-Tabora, World Vison

An eleven-year-old girl shows a village how to recycle. All it took was a visit from a community mobiliser and Bayan immediately segregated recyclables near her shelter.

In their shelter in Azraq refugee camp, Bayan has assumed most of the household chores including the sorting of solid waste as her mother recovers from an illness. The youngest of seven siblings, Bayan cheerfully cleans the shelter and attends to her mother’s needs. Bayan’s mother escaped to Jordan with her three sons and youngest daughter after her father disappeared when “he visited his parents in Sayyidah Zaynab”, a town in the Rif Dimashq Governorate of Syria, 10 km south of Damascus. The three elder daughters, who are all married, stayed in Syria. “I feared for my children’s life and I want them to finish their education. I want Bayan to be a doctor,” her mother says.

The Syrian children in the Azraq Refugee Camp keep their environment clean and express their views through poetry and music.

The Environmentally Responsible Solid Waste Management Project funded by the European Union and World Vision in Azraq refugee camp engages young girls to teach children how to segregate waste inside their shelters.

To date, around 600 children from three villages in Azraq Refugee Camp participated in a series of children events where fellow children wrote and read poems about keeping their homes clean through segregation. The boys with the support of Mohammad Alshoubak composed and sang songs about the coloured bins for segregated waste inside Azraq refugee camp.

Mohammad Alshoubak is a musician from Homs when the war broke. Together with his wife Nadia, they crossed the border and settled in Azraq Refugee camp. Nadia works as a Community Mobilisation volunteers engaging children in the camp for the solid waste management project. Mohammad teaches young Syrian children how to play various musical instruments when not doing maintenance jobs in the camp.

“Music is my life and part of me died when I had to leave my instruments when we escaped Homs, Syria,” recalls Mohammad. So, with all the money that he earned for three years doing maintenance jobs in the camp, Mohammad bought musical instruments so he can continue creating music. “I feel alive whenever I play and composed songs,” says Mohammad. The young boys he mentors also gained confidence and joined the performances with other children.

“Music can best convey messages to children. A catchy rhyme and song are remembered better by children,” says Hasmik Kocharyan, Project Manager of the Solid Waste Management project.

The series of gatherings led by children brings music and poetry to the Syrian refugees in Azraq camp. Lina Al Sharaf, senior community mobiliser of the SWM projects, voices the puppets she created from recyclable materials. The Sustainable Food Security for refugees through Environmentally Responsible Solid Waste Management Project funded by the European Union and World Vision in Azraq camp are engaging hundreds of volunteers in the campaign and in the Green Centre in the recovery of recyclable materials from almost 21 tons of solid waste collected daily from more than 36,000 Syrian refugees in Azraq.