In a safe space, children begin to reimagine the world

Makani centres continue to support children during COVID-19

Basel Al-Smadi, AbdelMajid El-Noaimi
A girl
03 November 2020

Hanan, 11 years, left her home in Syria and came to Jordan in 2014 with her parents and five siblings. Because her father has several disabilities preventing him from finding a job, Hanan and her family depend on her 16-year-old brother to provide their only source of income.

“It breaks my heart that my son had to miss school to provide for us. The rest of my children are in school and I don’t want them to face the same destiny,” explained Hanan’s mother, who ensured enrolment of her and her siblings in school after arriving in Jordan. Two years ago, she enrolled Hanan and her sisters in the Makani programme, where they benefit from learning support services.

“I feel bad for my brother who had to leave school and work, and that’s why I love going to the Makani centre," said Hanan, who goes to the Makani centre every week.

"I want to keep learning and benefitting from the lessons so I can be successful at school and in life.” 

Hanan, 11

Her favourite class at the centre is mathematics, because she enjoys the interactive approach used by the facilitator.

“I was really upset when the Makani centre closed, especially because schools also closed, and we had to stay at home.” 

The COVID-19 lockdown initiated a temporary closure of Makani centres on 15 March, with facilitators working remotely. To ensure that children and parents remain supported, Makani activities were digitized. Communication between UNICEF staff, facilitators, and beneficiaries has been maintained through WhatsApp messaging, enabling facilitators to share relevant content and COVID-19 awareness messages.


“When Makani reopened, I was so excited to see my teachers after a very long time. I was happy.”

In September 2020, UNICEF received the green light from the Jordanian government to reopen Makani centres around the country, while ensuring social distancing in classrooms and maintaining all COVID-19 safety and protection procedures.

Hanan has been inspired in her child protection classes to reimagine the world for girls. “The best thing I learned at Makani is the importance of ending violence. I see it everywhere and I want it to stop. That’s why I want to become a lawyer when I grow-up – to defend women’s rig­­hts."

A girl wearing a mask in a classroom

Community-based child protection activities in Makani centres engage children, parents, and communities to build the resilience of children and the protective environment that surrounds them. These children and their parents are better prepared to face the continued tensions and shock arising in their lives.

“Places like Makani are very important for children,” said Hanan’s mother. “I’ve seen a big improvement in their behaviour and mentality since they joined the centre.

“We feel perfectly safe sending our children to the Makani centre; we are always in contact with the facilitators, and this is very important.”

Since 15 March 2020, over 94,000 beneficiaries were reached by at least one Makani service either remotely or in-person, of whom around 75,000 were children (54 per cent girls).

With thanks to the generous support from the European Union MADAD Trust Fund, UNICEF continues to reach the most vulnerable boys and girls in Jordan with critical services.