Syrian refugee trainees studying during a sewing class at DRC’s centre in Azraq refugee camp in Jordan

DRC Celebrates graduation of first class from Tamkeen livelihood centre in Azraq, Jordan

The Danish Refugee Council (DRC) recently celebrated the graudation of the first Syrian refugee trainees from the advanced sewing and tailoring course at the Tamkeen Livelihood Centre in Azraq refugee camp in Jordan.


Tamkeen, which means ‘empowerment’ in Arabic, is the first livelihood centre in Azraq Camp in Jordan. Since the opening in October 2016, Syrian refugees have been able to take courses, which help them create new businesses and opportunities to generate income. The first graduation ceremony was attended by donors and partners from UNHCR, UNICEF and other INGOs working in the camp.

“This is a good opportunity for you to learn and be able to provide for yourselves. Livelihood opportunities in the camp are not only important to revitalise the market but to make your lives easier”, Colonel Khaleel Al Abdallat said, congratulating the graduates who will now become paid workers at DRC’s centre in the camp. Colonel Al Abdallat is from the Syrian Refugee Affairs Directionate in Azraq Camp and was one of the many attendees at the graduation where graduates were able to showcase their products.

Learning new skills

DRC established its’ presence in Azraq camp to support vulnerable female, young and adult refugees by meeting their basic needs through temporary work employment and skill-building opportunities, which could lead to small businesses in the planned Azraq marketplace.

‘’I have always wanted to be a productive member of the society and this centre has given me the skills to become one, as well as the ability to learn and teach at the same time”, says Nesreen, one of the female trainees who graduated and is now on her way to become an activities supervisor at the centre.

The class of 48 trainees will now become paid workers with DRC’s centre producing clothing and other materials for the camp’s community. Their first project, which was commissioned by UNICEF, will be producing winter jackets for children in the camp.

“The skills and experience gained in this approach will serve both to improve social protection and ease the poverty among refugees, while also preparing them for future productive activities in a post-conflict Syria”, says Peter Klansoe, DRC’s Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa region.

Increasing self-esteem and quality of life

Through her income generating job, Nesreen can now support her family and help provide for her four children. After leaving her home back in Syria in January 2015, the 30-year-old graduate found it difficult to start from zero, adjust to a camp setting, and build a new life. “I thought I was too old to learn a new skill or have the chance to work, but this has increased my self-esteem despite the circumstances we are in”, she says. She now sees hope to improve her quality of living. The Tamkeen livelihood centre offers various courses including shoe repair, gardening, painting, and tailoring targeting both male and female Syrian adult refugees.

DRC also offers trainees financial training to support them in future operations in the camp.  Further, DRC tries to purchase all materials needed for the centre from the camp’s marketplace to help development, increase cash flow and inject cash in the market.