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Living in a refugee camp through the eyes of a 19-year-old Syrian

The following is an excerpt from Fusion’s one-hour special, “Generation in Crisis,” where Alicia Menendez travels to the world’s second- largest refugee camp to document the effects that war is having on an entire generation of young Syrians.

Reema is 19 and she’s like any young adult. She checks in on her friends on Facebook. She makes plans on WhatsApp. There’s just one thing. She lives in a refugee camp.


She’s been in northern Jordan for nearly two years, sharing a caravan equipped with air conditioning and satellite TV with both her parents and her four siblings. This is stability in Zaatari, home to nearly 80,000 people, making it one of the most concentrated settlements of Syrian refugees.

Reema tells us her friends in Syria are often jealous of all the new people she’s meeting in the camp.

“My friend [in Syria], she always say, ‘I feel sad, I feel boring,'” Reema explains. “When they are chatting with me, I tell them, ‘I was just having fun today. I do this and I do this. I meet these people, I meet these kids.’ And they say, ‘Please I want to come. I want to come with my parents.'”


Reema is a community organizer for ACTED, an NGO that supports vulnerable populations around the world and provides hygiene awareness, water supply, and camp cleaning to Zaatari. They also have a partnership with AptART, a group of artists and activists supplying a creative outlet for children in the camp.

In light of the number of men who have been killed or captured or are still fighting in the Syrian war, about 80 percent of refugees are women and children.

Fusion’s Alicia Menendez traveled to the camp to document the effects that war is having on an entire generation of young Syrians whose lives and education have been put on hold, particularly women and children.

Menendez also visited Rwanda to look at how that country emerged from genocide 20 years ago and to Central America to document the very real refugee crisis happening right now at the U.S. border.

Fusion’s one-hour special, “Generation in Crisis” will air soon.



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