Communicating and improving the lived experiences of school children in and around the Zaatari refugee camp

*Recently recognised by the University of Edinburgh as one of it's "Big Ideas!" See the following link for more information:


What does it mean to be a refugee? How does it feel to have your life as you knew it torn from your hands by war and conflict? How do individuals cope with the everyday challenges of displacement? How do children make sense of the turmoil they have experienced? How do the impacts of war and conflict ripple through generations in the hearts and minds of children? And how are the holistic needs of these children met?

The Lived Zaatari Documentary Project aims to improve and shed an ethnographic light on the lived experiences of school-aged Syrian refugee children in and around the Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan.

This is a University of Edinburgh initiative that seeks to reveal the stories of these children in a way that is meaningful and that resonates, both for the children on the ground and for those outside Zaatari looking in, hoping to make a difference.

The project is funded by the University of Edinburgh Innovation Initiative Grant and is part of the 50-year celebration of Sociology at Edinburgh. It is also supported by and working in partnership with the United Nations Association Edinburgh (UNAE) and the United Nations Association Scotland (UNAS).

Documentary Ambition: Fostering the Creation of Empathy through the Sharing of Lived Experiences

The intention of the documentary film and the north star guiding its orientation and production is to foster the creation of empathy through the sharing of lived experiences.

The aim, therefore, is to communicate something simple told from WITHIN an experience– the experience of school-aged children– that allows people to identify with individuals and lived experiences that they would not normally encounter, the hope being that this will create a profound sense of empathy. It’s not necessarily a fundraising or advocacy undertaking, although that may be the effect. It is first and foremost an intention to be a companion, to befriend, to relate, to share in experience, and, therefore to create empathy as a force for good in the world.