Reclaim Childhood visits MMP

Mixed migration is not a topic on the minds of most university students. But it was of keen interest to 13 college-aged women from the United States and the Netherlands who visited the Mixed Migration Platform’s office in Amman last week to hear a presentation by Alex Odlum, an analyst who works with MMP and partner agency ACAPS.

The students are in Jordan volunteering at a summer camp with the Amman-based Reclaim Childhood. The organization reaches migrant girls and young women through play, sports programmes and coaching clinics, said programme director Maddie Ulanow.

The group describes itself as being “run by young women for young women”.

The young women who attended the MMP presentation were interested in the current flow of people who fled their homelands in the Middle East region because of conflict and other precarious conditions.

“I think we should be doing more than we are”, said Kristyn Rohrer, 20, from Kutztown University in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. “I wanted to take it upon myself to do something”.

Interacting with campers gives the student volunteers a chance to talk with refugees and other migrants and learn about their experiences. Reclaim Childhood came to the MMP presentation to understand the deeper context of people moving within, through and to the Middle East.

Alex talked about MMP’s definition of mixed migration: the movement of different types of people along similar routes, including refugees, asylum seekers, people who are trafficked, and economic migrants. MMP uses these and other characteristics such as age and gender “as a lens of analysis” to pinpoint gaps in protecting the rights of all people on the move, he said.

The Reclaim Childhood volunteers learned about recent MMP analyses, including one on human trafficking of migrants in the Middle East and Europe and another on unaccompanied and separated children (UASC) in Jordan, Lebanon and Greece.

In Greece, the MMP briefing paper states, children face immediate challenges because they have traveled alone. An analysis of the situation for children in Jordan and Lebanon showed that children arrive with their families but are frequently separated from relatives because of “documentation issues”.

The Reclaim Childhood volunteers made good points throughout the presentation.

“I’d be interested to see migration patterns for people with disabilities”, said one woman.

“I think there’s a lot of information, but it is not at the right places”, said Iris Kooreman, 25, of the Netherlands.

The student volunteers left with the information they were seeking.

“I came in with very little understanding of what was meant by mixed migration”, said Mia Calamari, 21, a student at the University of Chicago. “I’m leaving with a much better understanding”.