A UW professor has been studying Syrian refugee children to learn more about the impacts of fleeing war.
“You go once and you start working with the kids, and you just want to keep doing it,” said Karen Fisher, a professor at the UW Information School. “You can't stop.”
She just returned from another trip to the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, which is now the second –largest refugee camp in the world with a population of roughly 80,000. Most of them are children.
“The truth is that people’s education has been incredibly disrupted, people have been out of school for now two years, three years,” said Fisher.
That disruption has had a profound impact on kids' lives, but she says what she has not seen in the camp is the lure of ISIS, which many people fear is preying on these young people.
“There's always a lot of talk about refugees and radicalization, and there's no strong evidence for that,” she said. “I think it’s rhetoric.”
Fisher says her the greatest concern is the lack of proper schooling. One of her goals is to help build more mobile libraries, to foster learning and help create a better future for a generation displaced by war.
“One of the things we find is that youth are the same everywhere. All parents, all young people, they have the same hopes and dreams, and we find that youth are incredibly creative. We find that they're incredibly resilient,” she said.
Fisher plans to return to the refugee camp in a few weeks. She works alongside representatives from the United Nations, who rely on researchers like her to help explain the children’s' needs and learn more about the challenges in their lives.