Orthodox Initiative responds to needs of refugees in Jordan
Report of the Summer 2018 Service programs in Jordan
Jordan, the biblical “land of refugees,” continues to shoulder for the whole world its historical role as the safe haven for refugees. The Kingdom prides itself as a unique state of ethnic, cultural, and religious diversity with minority groups able to sustain unique differences. Hospitality has always been a feature of the Middle Eastern cultures, and we in Jordan have always taken this heritage very seriously. Jordan has not been blessed with rich deposits of oil, gold, water or other natural resources. We are grappling with financial crises, one after the other, and the locals are paying the high price, silently and patiently waiting for the international communities to help out in this crises that Jordan now is facing. We are not afraid to open our borders to receive refugees from the neighboring countries, neither turn our shoulders from the needy and the ones fleeing a life threatening situation.
We are on the contrary so proud of ourselves and our army who stood days and night at the border carrying elderly and young children to cross from the no man land to the Jordanian land. We paid along with our army a high price when the savage murder by the Islamic State of Jordan’s hero pilot Muaz Al-Kassessbeh outraged all Jordanians, and horrified the world.
Our project is a complement to our previous service to the Syrian and Iraqi refugees and the most vulnerable Jordanian families through direct support of all basic requirements and necessary aid for both women and children on monthly basis.
This summer, we added some extra programs and activities to strengthening the capacity-building, skills and awareness-raising.
Reaching this objective the project envisaged two outputs as follows:
- To enhance the ability of refugees to serve themselves and their community through training.
- Develop an advanced training curriculum in the field of community service based on experience. The experience Basic training has already been conducted through specialized people for all families.
For the whole project, an overall goal of the training courses and some other activities for the Syrian Refugees is to offer assistance and support.
The project included the distribution of direct aid including food parcels, detergent parcels, women’s dignity parcel, hygiene kits for children, clothing vouchers to all families in Eid al-Adha (Islamic Feast of the Sacrifice), and a group Iftar (breaking the fast) in the holy month of Ramadan, as well as children’s special baskets and gifts.
1. Water filters
A program was implemented to provide clean drinking water for the refugees at Nayefeh and Al Faisaliah camps at the Northern Badia in northern Jordan. The water at this area is very high in salt and considered not drinkable water. The first solution we provided was to buy water drinking tanks for each family then we implemented the installation of water filter systems for each tent to purify the water and to supply clean drinking water and ensure that the water is 100% clean.
2. Training courses
First Aid Training Course
Through planning the summer service 2018, a simple first aid training course was a top priority. It was provided through local trainers from Jordan. We saw the urgent need for this type of course, especially because the Syrian refugees at the camps live in difficult desert weather conditions and must be able to deal with emergencies. Special tents and equipment were prepared at the camps to implement this course.
Refugees were asked to register for this first aid course which was open to all men and women. We thought that women would not register for this type of course, but we were surprised that the number of women was more than men and were more responsive at the field training.
By the end of the First Aid training course all participants were able to deal with all the emergencies cases like patient positioning, CPR, shock treatment, bleeding control, wound care management, and bone and joint injuries, as well as general complaints and symptoms, breathing disorders, myocardial infarction, allergic reaction, head injuries, and other practical exercises.
A first aid kit was distributed to all 150 participants and all participants of training course were provided with official certificates.
The main project objectives were achieved, the project had a positive effect in raising knowledge about the duties of a First Aid Responder, and how to deal with any emergencies.
We were amazed of how receptive all participants were, eager to learn new skills and ready to occupy their time with something that could serve others. Many, especially women, told us that they informed some of their friends who are still in Syria their readiness to be hired upon their return in hospitals and clinics to serve their injured people at home.
Children’s informal school
As a follow up to our previous learning projects we continued the English classes for children in the camps on weekly basis. The teacher is one of our team. The children became attached to her as we noticed that while waiting for her to arrive they put on the most beautiful clothes and perfume. We also noticed that they became very organized and A+ students .
In addition to learning English, we train them on some light sport exercises before the class, as well as listening to music, singing, and dancing at the end of each class.
Berta’s Stories (The English teacher)
“I will talk about two girls. Farah and Teeba.
Farah (Farah means happiness) is a little girl with a smiley face yet you cannot but see signs of anxiety and fear on her face. Her grandmother a very old lady is always running around her and watching over her.
Farah has Down’s syndrome, but no one at the camp knew that this is genetic. They call her “Darwesheh” which means she is very simple. She obviously needs extra care and special attention, but this facility is not available.
She loves to play with the kids, but some kids try to annoy her and sometimes to push her because they know she can’t defend herself. (bullying)
I tried many times to talk with the children about her case and how they must treat her. But because they don’t know about Down’s syndrome, they can’t understand well. I wish that later we can give them a lecture or a course about these cases to create awareness on this important issue for both the parents and the children.
My second girl is Teeba (Teeba means kindness).
Now we discovered that she loves songs and loves to sing all the time.
When we go to the camp every time, she has new song with her. It is simple songs from her mother and their country, she always sings and smiles and it’s a must for her to be ready with a dress and nice hair.
The world watches the refugees through the television and pictures, but no one can imagine the situation unless you visit or deal with these children. “
We hope that we can continue to help more and more to secure the safety of all the people even with our limited resources.”
Women Embroidery Course
This course was launched after talking with the women. As a result and upon their request we implemented the embroidery teaching course. We have trained them last winter on wool knitting work, and as a result they have benefited greatly. These new skills will give them opportunities and additional income to develop new skills to earn extra income. They can become teachers and facilitators for other women living in nearby farms.
The embroidery course was attended by 20 women and we distributed a tote bag containing all the materials and supplies. They have been given training sessions once a week and have learned very quickly because of their love for these handicrafts that benefit them in their daily lives. The women train other women who are not participating in this course. In each visit we are surprised by the progress of their work. We provided for each participant a certificate illustrating that they are qualified to teach others.
Abeer is an employee of the Orthodox Initiative, an Iraqi refugee who previously taught them the wool knitting work.
One of the women said she will use her embroideries on bed linens, cushions and dresses and she will have customers to sell her work.
Another woman says she will decorate her tent by using her work and will embroider her dress. She is proud of her work.
They considered the art of embroidery as the hope that gave them value and occupied their free time, productively, and maybe would provide some extra income.
Total number of Direct Aid beneficiaries:
Families in Northern Badia at (Alfaisalia-Naifa-Sabha) Camps: 150 families = 750 people
- Food Parcel distribution: 150 food parcel per month for Syrian refugees for 3 camps at Northern Badia
- Beneficiaries: 750 people
- Food Parcel distribution for Iraqi Refugees: 120 food parcels for Iraqi refugees in Amman
- Beneficiaries: 360 families=1800 people
- Detergent Parcel distribution: 150 parcel per month for 3 camps
- Beneficiaries: 750 people
- Women Dignity Package: 100 packages per month
- Beneficiaries: 100 women
- Hygiene Kit Package for children: 100 packages twice during Summer Service 2018
- Beneficiaries:100 children
- Ramadan Iftar (breaking of the fast) Gathering: 150 Family on Alfaisalia and Naifa camp
- Beneficiaries: 350 People
- Clothes Voucher distribution: 150 families on 3 camps (Al-Faisalia-Naifa-Sabha). For the Feast of the Sacrifice (`Id al-adha) occasion: 220 vouchers
- Beneficiaries: 550 people
- Water Filter system: 40 filter system for the Families at Al-Faisalia and Naifa camps.
- Beneficiaries: 500 people
- Water Tanks: 44 families at Al-Faisalia camp given a supply with water tanks on monthly basis
- Beneficiaries: 220 people
Total number of Courses beneficiaries:
- First Aid training course: 150 families at 3 camps
- Beneficiaries: 750 people
- English, Sports, and Music courses: 25 children at Al-Faisalia camp
- Beneficiaries: 25 Children
- Embroidery Course: 22 women at Al-Faisalia camp
- Beneficiaries: 22 Women.
Our services have been ongoing since 2003 serving the displaced. We are proud of the work of the Churches and the commitment to keep up with serving the most vulnerable but our hearts remain sad witnessing all these wars which can only result in more war and violence, and innocent people are paying the actual price. Many stories we have heard and witnessed are very ugly. You think it can’t happen but it’s happening in the midst of the twenty-first century. Injustice in the abuse of women and children is happening every day.
A Note from The Orthodox Initiative Team to our Partners: “With hearts full of love and gratitude and on behalf of every most vulnerable person we have served and whose needs have been met, we thank you and pray that our Lord Jesus Christ will protect your countries and keep you all safe.”
Oct.2018 Amman, Jordan