This study explored female refugees’ perceptions and life experiences at the Za’atari Camp in Jordan. While the study explored challenges and difficulties refugee women have endured while living in the camp, emphasis was placed on how they faced these challenges, coping mechanisms used for overcoming and enduring such circumstances, and what new life roles they had to assume. Utilizing Schweitzer, Greenslade, and Kagee’s (2007) model, this study explored, through qualitative phenomenological methods, the tenacity, resilience, and strength that empowered refugee women throughout their experiences in the camp. In-depth interviews were the main method of data collection. Forty-three face-to-face interviews were conducted on camp premises during the summer of 2015. The data was analyzed according to the Interpretive Phenomenological Analytic (IPA) guidelines.
The findings of this study revealed the female refugees of the Za’atari Camp were not passive in dealing with their adversities. They showed resilience, tenacity, and resourcefulness when coping with life in the settlement. Their resilience is seen through their determination to provide for their families and normalize their lives inside the camp. Additionally, female refugees employed different coping mechanisms for maintaining their psychological well-being such as religiosity, seeking social support and networking, and self-empowerment.
The findings also indicated children’s education in the camp continues to be an area of concern for a majority of refugees despite their understanding of the importance of education for their children’s survival. Due to the widespread notion the camp’s education was not accredited in Syria, and their beliefs of the temporariness of their encampment, children were left to their own accord in deciding whether to attend school or not.
The results of this study challenged the “Dependency Syndrome” myth which postulate refugees tend to become dependent on humanitarian aid and unable to fend for themselves. On the contrary, many become strong, independent and assertive. In the end, they came to see themselves differently which brought a new level of understanding of themselves and their abilities.
|Commitee:||Bowser, Audrey, Holman, David, Persell, Deborah|
|School:||Arkansas State University|
|School Location:||United States -- Arkansas|
|Source:||DAI-A 78/06(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational leadership, Womens studies, Middle Eastern Studies|
|Keywords:||Coping mechanisms, Female refugees, Refugees education and safety, Resilience, Syrian refugees, Za'atari Camp|
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