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Princess Basma Inaugurates Projects to Serve Mafraq Community
19 January, 2014

The Jordan Times
By Laila Azzeh


MAFRAQ-HRH Princess Basma on Sunday officially inaugurated the Social Support Centre, a hexagonal stadium and a children′s park in Mafraq Governorate.

Established by Save the Children and the Jordanian Hashemite Fund for Human Development (JOHUD), the centre helps school dropouts rejoin formal and non-formal education, linking them with vocational training, and providing counselling to them and children found at risk of child labour.

According to the law, the minimum age for regular work is 16, and 18 for hazardous work, which the Labour Ministry defined in 1997 as dangerous, tiring or harmful to the health of juveniles.

The JD118,000 stadium and park, established at the Princess Basma Centre for Development in Mafraq, was supported by Mercy Corps and funded by UNCHR and the British embassy as part of a project that aims at developing local communities.

Implemented in Irbid and Mafraq governorates, the project helps local residents and Syrian refugees overcome transformations that took place as a result of the Syrian crisis, according to the organisations involved.

It also trains individuals to identify the needs of their respective areas and manage projects that lead to social change.

Princess Basma checked on the centre′s classrooms and was briefed on the extra-curricular activities it provides.

The facility is part of a US-funded $3.9 million project, dubbed Promising Future, implemented by Save the Children to eliminate child labour in Jordan through education and improve the living conditions of families with working children.

JOHUD also works with Save the Children to provide social support services in Marka and Zarqa, which have high rates of child labour.

The princess also listened to the testimony of five students, including one Syrian, on the programmes and services they receive at the centre and its branch in Amman.

Commending the efforts of all stakeholders, Princess Basma underlined the importance of the newly established facilities in light of the difficult social, economic and political circumstances the local community is facing in Mafraq, some 80km northeast of Amman.

She cited the fruitful cooperation between JOHUD and official institutions, such as the ministries of labour and education and the Vocational Training Corporation, to combat child labour.

Saba Mbaslat, director of Save the Children programmes in Jordan, said the phenomenon is on the rise in the Kingdom, citing child labour as one the consequences of the Syrian crisis and calling for more efforts to combat it.

We should reject seeing a child working to support the family investing in our children and protecting them should always be a priority, she added.

According to the UNCHR, a total of 107,300 Syrian refugees registered in Jordan are children between the ages of one and four. Some 117,000 are under eleven.