Life for refugees is more difficult than you or I can even imagine.
There are 600,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan, and for those living outside of the Zaatari refugee camp life is especially challenging.
Zaatari is now the second largest refugee camp in the world, with a population of about 150,000 people. It provides a unified place where refugees can live, be registered, and receive assistance from aid organizations. Unfortunately, the camp is also overcrowded and poses threats to the health, sanitation, and security of all who live there. For some, the risks are too great. They fear rape and violence in the camp at night. Their children may require medical attention that is not available in the camp. The poor sanitary conditions are dangerous for elderly and frail family members.
Those who have decided to seek shelter outside of the camps have found temporary lodging in Jordan’s urban areas but, because they are spread out, they are “hidden” from aid organizations and harder to help.
“These families are not receiving any other support and are selling off the very assets they need to survive,” said Ken Little, World Renew Senior Program Manager.
As part of its response to the Syria conflict, World Renew is focusing on the unmet needs of refugee families living in Irbid city – a large urban area with few other organizations present to meet the growing needs of refugees and host families. In partnership with Arab Women Today (AWT) and local Christian churches, World Renew is providing food to 1,000 extremely vulnerable families in Irbid. This includes 850 Syrian refugee families and 150 vulnerable Jordan host families. It is funded, in part, through the Canadian Foodgrains Bank.
“World Renew and AWT have enabled four local churches across the city to minister to the needs of these refugees,” said Little.
The churches play a crucial role in this response.
The churches play a crucial role in this response. They use their facilities as distribution centers to ensure that families across Irbid have access to food supplies. They also help to sort, pack and distribute the food packages, which contain food staples such as rice, lentils, wheat and beans.
“One of the things that gave me relief is when I entered the church and read the verse on the wall: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30). This encourages me and gives me relief,” said Hassan, a Muslim man who fled Syria with his family and suffered significant trauma. “Even though I still have material needs, these words give me comfort for my soul.”
Many of the refugees being served tell painful stories that are similar to Hassan’s. Women in particular have experienced many abuses in addition to the loss of loved ones. Through assistance from Tearfund and ZOA, one-hundred women are receiving psychosocial counseling support as an additional component of World Renew’s response in Jordan. This is helping them process their emotions and develop strategies for dealing with the trauma they have experienced and the uncertainty they currently live in.
As AWT Director, Ruba Abbassi explains "Many refugees have extraordinary survival skills and a strong inner character. This can be built on to construct a picture of a future full of hope rather than one of despair."
Please pray for World Renew and AWT as they work to meet the immediate needs and psychosocial needs of these refugee families. Please also consider supporting this effort financially.
or send your cheques marked “Syria Conflict” to...
World Renew US
2850 Kalamazoo Ave SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49560
World Renew Canada
P.O. Box 5070 STN LCD
Burlington, Ontario, L7R 3Y8