By Laura Cook, Communications Manager for All We Can
“To get to the border on one day we had to walk for seven hours continuously. We had many fears. At any moment we might be killed.” In 2010, with four young children, Amana made the long journey on foot from Der’a in Syria across the border into neighbouring Jordan. She fled the developing conflict to find a safe haven after three of her neighbours were killed by an explosive device in front of their home. Amana is now one of the nearly 650,000 Syrian who have become refugees and are now residing in Jordan.
Amana lives in Husn Refugee Camp with her children and her mother; her husband travels frequently, trying to find work. While Amana describes Jordan as a friendly country, and its people as kind, life is incredibly challenging. The basic cost of living is high for a family, and especially because they have had to leave everything behind. Amana often reminisces about her former life at home in Syria before the war. “We were very happy there, we had a very wonderful farm. I often remind my kids about Syria and what our lives were like there.”
More than three years ago, All We Can started responding to the humanitarian crisis caused by the conflict in Syria, by supporting Syrian refugees and their host communities in Jordan. In Husn Refugee Camp, All We Can’s work has focussed on supporting families like Amana’s through the provision of a community Child Forum. The forum, run by our local partner DSPR, provides a space for children to come together, to play and to learn. Amana’s son Mohammad has really benefitted from the Child Forum and for him it has been one of the first places he has felt truly safe. “There is a big change in his personality. He has started to have friends and build relationships. He used to be very shy. Now he is still shy but a lot less so. He has started smiling.” Amana, grinning broadly, tells me. In the midst of an uncertain and transitory situation, Amana and her children are finding hope and community.
In May this year, Revd Dr Roger Walton and Ms Rachel Lampard (President and Vice-President of the Methodist Conference 2016-17) accompanied All We Can on a visit to the Husn Refugee Camp Child Forum. They spent time talking to, and joining in activities with, the 40 Syrian and Palestinian refugees attending the group. After visiting the forum, Rachel reflected on the impact of the work she had witnessed noting that the children’s club presented “a chance for children to play and be creative together, to become friends and to feel safe. The Child Forum was allowing children to be children, in spite of their circumstances.”
Amana is taking each day as it comes and finds comfort and a real sense of happiness seeing her children regain some of the confidence they had lost. Whilst she still longs to be back home in Syria, she knows that, realistically, this yearning will not be satisfied any time soon as the conflict continues to deepen in her home country. Her hopes are simple ones; for her children to be safe and happy and “for a good future” for her family.
More than five years into the brutal Syrian conflict, All We Can remains committed to helping the many families like Amana’s. Maurice Adams, All We Can’s Chief Executive, commented, ‘Like many of us, these mothers and fathers simply want a home. A place they can feel safe with their children. They want a future free from the pain and memories they have experienced. We are doing all we can to help them realise their hopes by providing physical and emotional support to help them survive day by day’. In addition to the Child Forums, All We Can’s humanitarian aid partners continue to deliver assistance, including; cash support, help with rising rental costs, access to safer living, basic services such as primary health care and counselling and vocational training courses.
All We Can, the British Methodist relief and development charity, is a pioneering international development, relief and advocacy organisation that helps people in some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable communities in creating positive, longer-term solutions. Working through partnerships with local people and organisations it is inspired by Christian principles and focuses on those in greatest need. Find out more about All We Can’s work with refugees in Jordan at www.allwecan.org.uk/allpeople
[Image 1] Revd Dr Roger Walton and Ms Rachel Lampard (President and Vice-President of the Methodist Church in Britain Conference 2016-18) spent time with children in the Husn Refugee Camp Child Forum.
[Image 2] Amana stands with Mohammad and her daughter outside her dwelling in Husn Camp: “The most positive thing here is the people. The people are kind.”