Working together to support refugees in Jordan: a message from our local partner

06 December 2019

Topics: "Ration Challenge" refugees

On the left, Fares helps with a food ration distribution in Talbiah camp on the outskirts of Amman, Jordan.
Fares is the Executive Director of our local partner in Jordan, the Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees (DSPR). We talked to Fares about how the funds you raised through the Ration Challenge are saving lives and empowering Syrian refugees to support themselves through DSPR’s life-changing work.

 “The Syrian families we work with fled Syria because of the civil war that started in 2011. With the bombings and shootings, danger was all around. People were forced to leave their homes and their lives behind to seek safety. The journey across the border is very dangerous. Most people either walk, or hide in trucks or cars and move only during the night.

Jordan was one of the first countries to take in Syrian refugees fleeing the fighting. Since the beginning of the crisis, hundreds of thousands of people have fled to Jordan to find refuge. There are around 1.4 million Syrians living in Jordan, including over 755,000 registered refugees. They live mainly in urban areas.
It is so important to welcome refugees as they have no other place to go.
We are always striving to meet the needs of the people we are serving. This includes providing people with practical support, as well as meeting their emotional needs. The most important thing is that people know we are standing beside them during their darkest hour.

Syrian children hold some of the essential items contained in the food ration packs distributed to refugees by our local partner in Jordan. The emergency food parcels, which also contain rice, lentils, flour, tinned fish and chick pea, are helping to ensure families struggling to get by have enough to eat. Credit: Ben Littlejohn/Act for Peace
Eight years into the crisis, food is still the biggest need. When people don’t have enough money to buy food, we are there to support them with emergency food parcels.
In winter, we help people with blankets and wood stoves, as well as providing school supplies for children. Many people are dealing with the trauma of what they’ve gone through and we offer psychosocial sessions so people can begin to heal.

Mother support groups provide women with a place to talk and share experiences and education workshops for children offer spaces for them to learn and play together.

DSPR has been working with Palestinian refugees since 1949, so we understand the suffering that people go through when they have been forced from their country. By standing with Syrian refugees, we hope to reduce some of their suffering.

In the beginning, we faced a lot of difficulties trying to reach people who had just arrived from Syria after experiencing the unimaginable horrors of war. People were very closed and many were experiencing feelings of depression and isolation.

So we formed teams made up of hundreds of volunteers from the community. They reached out to Syrian families to let them know they weren’t alone and tell them that we were there to help in many ways.
We care much for the dignity of the people and work to empower refugees to support themselves.

Fares (left) with a volunteer during a food ration distribution on the outskirts of Amman, Jordan. Most of DSPR’s work on the ground is done by caring volunteers, who are often refugees themselves. Credit: Ben Littlejohn/Act for Peace
We emphasise this through hiring refugee field workers and volunteers. They support their own community and benefit through feeling a sense of ownership.

Now we have a very good relationship with the people we serve and every day I see the difference that happens in people’s lives thanks to this ongoing support.

Our continued commitment to the people in the community means we have earned their trust and because of this people feel safe and secure.
Through Act for Peace and the support of the Australian people, we have managed to reach around 30,000 Syrian people in urgent need.  We couldn’t have done this without help from the good people of Australia, thank you.