Fw: Jill Biden Pool Report

From: Raed Omari [mailto:xxx@email.com]
Sent: Thursday, March 10, 2016 08:10 PM
To: Gleeson, James
Subject: Jill Biden Pool Report

The U.S.'s Second Lady Jill Biden on Thursday paid a field visit to the Zaatari Refugee Camp and a school for girls in Jordan's refugee-plagued eastern city of Mafraq.

Starting her visit to Al Fadeen Elementary School in Mafraq, some 90 kilometers east of Amman, Dr. Biden was received with a traditional dance (Dabkeh) performed by girls.

At the school, which hosts large numbers of refugee students, Dr. Biden attended a laboratory class and had conversations with students and teachers on the challenges facing them in the overcrowded facility.

During a meeting with the school's principal and teachers, Dr. Biden was briefed on the challenges facing the school as well as its activities and programs.

According to the principal, facility is now "overcrowded" with the number of its students doubled following the Syrian refugee influx to Mafraq.

The principal also said that Jordanian students' acceptance of the Syrian students was also a major challenge the school faced, explaining that the cultural similarity between Jordanians and Syrians has had its major impact on alleviating Jordanian students' anxiety.

Responding to a question by Dr. Biden on whether Syrian students have ever "undergone certain psychological thereby," the headmistress said, "Yes the "traumatized" Syrian students have undergone psychological thereby programes, funded by the USAID and other international organizations, to help them "forget the nightmares they had back home".

Dr. Biden also toured the school's labs and library and had conversations with students and parents who all valued the US's support to their refugee-burdened governorate.

In Zaatari Refugee Camp, home to around 80,000 Syrian refugees, Biden checked on the educational and health facilities and toured the shopping center there.

"I have been in many refugee camps around the world. It is the first time I see this," Dr. Biden said having seen the iris scanning system for the Syrians at the camp's shopping center.

After attending classes with students at the educational UNICEF-funded “Makani” (My Space) center, Biden met with parents and old women at the camp.

The women told Biden that in general they face no challenges at the facility but they "miss home; their sons and relatives."
Asked the women about the message they want her to carry to the US, one of the women said, "We need your assistance and help to restore security to our country and get rid of the Assad regime."

"I will deliver your message tonight," Biden said.

Concluding her visit with press meeting, Dr. Biden said," I would love to thank the Jordanian government for its humanitarian efforts to the refugees. We have to work towards bringing an end to the Syrian war so that Syrians can go back home."

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