School has started in Jordan and many of the refugees living there outside the camps have difficulty affording school supplies for their children. SCM is helping out by getting bags and supplies for them. On September 5th we received in 400 kits to our warehouse containing a bag, water bottle, pencil bag and supplies. On the 6th, we distributed them to the displaced Syrian children living in and around Madaba, Jordan.
SCM has long maintained our warehouse in Madaba to hold supplies donated and shipped to Jordan and those we send funds for purchasing in Jordan. This warehouse has been the central storage and distribution center for clothing, blankets, shoes, toys, medical equipment, sewing machines, school supplies, hygiene supplies and food aid. Our mission in the region would not be what it is without this facility.
Enjoy the video slideshow of the arrival of the bags and the distribution!
SCM’s representative in Lebanon, Ali Osseiran, has been busy with his team organizing distributions for the goods that finally arrived there – after almost a year in bureaucratic limbo. The first of several distributions took place in a town east of Saida called Mesh Elhabaes.
The donations distributed included blankets and quilts, medical equipment, walkers and crutches, hygiene supplies, clothing and toys. These are people hit hard by the economic collapse in Lebanon. They are getting basic supplies from SCM that they would otherwise have a hard time, or not be able to find at all.
We will have more photos from our distributions over the next few weeks so you can see that your donations are getting into the hands of refugees and people hit hard by the economic troubles of the country.
After many long months of working with Lebanese authorities, our container of donations has finally reached its destination and has been unloaded to prepare for distribution. Even though this has taken much longer than expected, there are still lots of people in need. We will be sharing photos of the distributions as we get them in.
Mark Jacobsen created this video of our volunteers working with some local refugees to make decorations for Halloween, sharing culture and learning from each other.
The video was originally posted in 2017 but we are reposting it now as a reminder of working together to keep hope alive. Refugees continue to arrive in our area and we need to be ready to help them not just with financial and in-kind aid, but also to help them feel comfortable in their new community and make friends. It is so important to engage with the refugees to make sure they are adjusting to their new homes and community and identify any problems that may need our assistance in resolving early on.
“After ten years, half of the Syrian population has been forced to flee their homes. (…) The gravity of this crisis must not weaken our solidarity for Syrians. On the contrary, we must redouble our collective effort to support both refugees and the communities hosting them. “
Filippo Grandi, UNHCR High Commissioner
Ten years ago, on July 28, 2012, the Za’atari Refugee Camp opened in Jordan to shelter the Syrians fleeing the war in their home country. At the time everyone thought it would be temporary. That was ten years ago. The camp now is on the top ten list of most populous cities in Jordan with 80,000 residents – just slightly less than the population of Aqaba. This is down from the all-time high of 156,000 in 2013 before a second camp opened in Zarqa to the east, but it is still a very large population of people living in poor conditions in the middle of an open semi-desert area. It is operated by the UN and has a number of other agencies and NGOs that help on a regular basis, but they are all stretched thin due to crises in other locations around the world.
The UNHCR has put out a call to all those currently working with the camp, and those, like SCM who have helped in the past but have had to move on to other emergencies, to step up in anyway they can to stop a rapidly deteriorating situation. SCM is going to answer this call with your help.
Za’atari has transformed into a medium sized city in Jordan with 1800 shops and businesses that employ 3600 refugees. The UNHCR also helps the refugees get work permits with an aim to reduce dependency on aid, but with the economic situation in Jordan, this is very difficult. The camp has 32 schools and over 55 community centers and provides basic medical services to the refugees. Each refugee family receives some assistance, and the economic activity in the camp spills out into the local area including the nearby city of Mafraq. The aid is being converted into mobile payments to make it easier for people to get and spend the aid, and even save a bit, especially if they have a job or operate a business in the camp. But for 80,000 people, it is not enough.
In 2013 the UNHCR began replacing the tents with caravans (portable buildings) that are essentially four walls, a floor and a roof. They might have a small sink, some shelving and a storage cabinet, and mattress pads for sitting and sleeping. The lifespan of the caravans is only 6-8 years, so the majority are in urgent need of repair. These shelters have become home to the Syrians, and they are trying to make the best of them, but the structures were not meant for long-term continued use.
The economic fallout of covid is also affecting the refugees, which are allowed work permits to get jobs in most sectors in Jordan, but the lack of job openings means many remain unemployed. They are forced to depend on dwindling assistance from the UN and other agencies to survive.
Water is another issue creating hardship for the refugees. Most refugees at the camp say the water they have access to is not enough to survive on. This is a problem intensified by water shortages from the Euphrates River and extreme heat in the region. Jordan gets some of its water from Israel, and some from the Euphrates River in Syria, which is dammed by Turkey, and access is sometimes used as a bargaining chip, or threat, depending on the issue.
The camp is powered by solar power, but the camp has grown beyond the original required output estimates of the power plant, leaving the residents of the camp electricity for 9-11 hours per day. Water storage tanks are inadequate to their needs and the delivery of water to the tanks needs to be increased, especially during the hot summer months.
SCM has a plan to help refugees living in Za’atari and our goal is $75,000 to do the following:
Provide more water tanks for more families
Help with the cost of filling those tanks on a regular basis
Provide funds and/or supplies to perform maintenance and repairs on caravans
Provide supplemental nutrition to make sure children are getting enough to stay healthy
Please donate today! Any amount helps – it could help buy a water tank or provide another week’s worth of water, or it could provide the supplies to repair a caravan with a crumbling roof or wall, or it could provide food for families that have to severely cut back.