UPDATE 5: 15 February 2016
Mohammed lives at Za'atari Refugee Camp in Jordan. He's now a volunteer worker with our partner Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Jordan, helping teach life skills to young people in the Camp. He tells of the horrors that brought him to the Camp - and his dreams for the future.
“My name’s Mohammed. I’m 28 years old. I come from a small village in Syria, 100km from the Jordanian border. I was studying English literature at Damascus University before the war.
After graduating, I would normally need to do army service but I didn’t want to go because I don’t believe in war, so the regime put me on their wanted list. There was a lot of harassment. The regime didn’t like educated people so I escaped and became a fugitive for 3 months. Security forces came to my house several times looking for me. They arrested 3 of my brothers and destroyed furniture because they wanted me.
They sent a message to me through my brothers saying, “If we catch you we will kill you and cut you up into many pieces.” They soon released my brothers and told them to leave. After this, I decided to leave Syria. I remember the date well.
At 7 pm on that day, the Free Syrian Army helped me with my trip. It was a very risk trip. Along the road there were many checkpoints. Because my name was at those checkpoints, we needed to go another way. I walked 52 kilometres over 17 hours to reach some villages under the SFA control. Shelling and gunshots were happening every day there. Sometimes I walked, sometimes I ran, and sometimes I crawled.
When I reached the border, I was told single men weren’t allowed to cross, so I waited for my sister to join me and we went across together. I didn’t sleep for 3 days in a row.
Soon I entered Za'atari.
During my first month in the camp I was shocked and depressed because I had left my family, friends and house, and now I was in a tent in another country. Lutheria (LWF) visited me to provide support. They explained what their mission, objectives and plans were, and invited me to volunteer for them. I accepted because I believed in these objectives and needed to break out of my depression.
The quality of Lutheria’s work – not just to provide services but a high quality of services and the respectful way they treat refugees …with respect and dignity – attracted me.
The situation in Syria became worse and so two of my brothers, their families, and my mother came to the camp. But my father didn’t want to leave his land which was important to him, and so my mother went back. They say, “We will die here.”
I’m sad because I don’t want to lose someone I love without seeing them again.
My dream is to return to Syria one day, to return to my study, and to rebuild my country again.”
PROTECT SYRIAN REFUGEES NOW
All donations over $2 are tax deductible
Click here to video visit the Peace Oasis inside the camp...
The mural you see here was created by young Syrian refugees being given your care at Za’atari Refugee Camp in Jordan (from where Australia has begun accepting refugees). Our ALWS partner, Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Jordan has created a Peace Oasis at Za’atari to support young people as they work to cope with the trauma they have suffered.
To ‘read’ the mural, start at the right hand side. Here you see how young people remember life used to be in Syria. The next panel shows the outbreak of war. Then, moving further to the left you see Za’atari Refugee Camp. It is the fourth panel on the mural – the dove of peace, the world reaching out to care – that we hope and pray for.
The UNHCR reports 630,176 Syrian refugees in Jordan. 18% are in refugee camps. Winter is almost here, and temperatures will plummet. Refugees desperately need ‘winterisation’ materials – blankets, heaters, secure shelter. Your support to welcome these ‘strangers’ as friends is vital.The mural above was created by Syrian refugee children at the Peace Oasis you support at Za'atari Refugee Camp in Jordan. Here you see the children's hopes and fears, and why our help is so important. Photo: LWF Jordan
UPDATE 4: 18 November 2015
Our ALWS partner, LWF Jordan, has distributed a third round of Food Coupons to 1,958 Syrian refugee and vulnerable Jordanian families (total 10,130 people) in Mafraq, Irbid and Zarqa governates in Jordan. A further 68 Iraqi refugees living in the church in Amman have received a monthly food ration.
The Peace Oasis at Za’atari Refugee Camp is providing psycho-social support and peace-building activities to 150 young people aged 14 – 17, along with care to young adults aged 18 – 30. Vocational skills training includes courses in computer, barbering, hairdressing and cosmetics. English classes are also provided.
Work has begun to rehabilitate 7 schools in Irbid governate.
Meanwhile, 1,620 children received school bags with stationery, and 1,500 girls received school uniforms..
To help protect health, 4,795 refugee families have received Hygiene Coupons of JOD29 ($57 AUS).
Photos from Lutheran World Federation showing people using their Food Coupons.
Update 3: 16 October 2015
As political leaders grapple with ‘solutions’ to the ‘refugee crisis’, the ALWS family simply reaches out and cares.
In the last four weeks more than $340,000 has been donated to help refugees from Syria, South Sudan and other countries hurt by conflict. Thank you …
… now meet two of the people benefitting from your care.
Khawla’s husband, and two sons aged 8 and 13, were killed in the conflict in Syria.
She fled her home in Deraa when rockets, shootings and arrests increased, and is now living as a refugee in a flat with 11 other people in Irbid in Jordan.
It is there she is receiving support from the ALWS family, through our partner Lutheran World Federation Jordan, to start a new life.
Khawla took part in tailoring training, where she learnt the different types of sewing. She’s now using these new skills to do sewing for neighbours and shops, earning the money she needs to survive as a refugee far from home.
Photo: LWF Jordan / ACT Alliance
Khawla has already saved enough money to buy her own sewing machine. You can see her using it in the photo above to sew a traditional dress called an abaya.
What Khawla is especially proud of is that she’s earning enough to send money to her two married daughters who have remained in Syria.
Khawla now plans to start her own sewing project to help other refugees like her.
70 refugees have received tailoring training
from the LWF team our ALWS family supports.
Mohammad used to work as a guard for the LWF team delivering care through ALWS to the 79,333 people (UNHCR – 4 October 2015) people seeking shelter at Za’atari.
Photo: LWF Jordan / ACT Alliance
When the LWF team offered training to be a barber, Mohammad took up the opportunity, along with his brother Abid Al Mueen. They have now opened their own barber shop inside the camp, to earn money to support their family.
100 refugees like Mohammad and Abid
have received training to become barbers.
More action for Syrian refugees
As well as the barber and tailor training, ALWS also supports:
- 6 months of food coupons for 1,400 Palestinian households who fled Syria
- Hygiene coupons for 1,145 households for two months
- 100 females receive training in hairdressing
- 600 children receive school bags with school kits
- 600 schoolgirls receive uniforms in Irbid and Mafraq
- Vocational training for 92 Syrian and Jordanian beneficiaries
- 182 people trained in conflict mitigation and social cohesion
- Construct 18 classrooms and 4 Water & Sanitation units in 5 public schools (to benefit 540 refugee students)
- Winterization kits to 800 Syrian and Jordanian families (3,656 people)
- Upgrade 56 houses to benefit 93 vulnerable Syrian and Jordanian families
- Provide Peace Oasis at Za’atari Refugee Camp where 120 – 150 young people come for conflict mitigation activities, life skills like computer literacy, recreation to help deal with what they’ve suffered, and to receive a hot meal
PLEASE CONTINUE THIS CARE - DONATE NOW
Update 2: 16 September 2015
Our ALWS partner, Lutheran World Federation (LWF), continues to welcome and care for Syrian refugees in Jordan. This is part of a $10 million AUD effort by churches of many denominations worldwide through ACT Alliance. As Christians together, we are helping refugees in Jordan and Lebanon, as well as displaced people within Syria.
10 Facts from the Syria Front Line
1. The total number of Syrian refugees in Jordan is 1.4 million. Only 40% of the cost of caring for them is covered by international donors – Jordan must cover the rest.
2. Jordan’s total population has increased by 20% due to the influx of refugees.
3. 85% of Syrian refugee households in Jordan are vulnerable to food insecurity, or are already food insecure. (This is almost double the 2014 rate.)
4. Jordan is one of the three poorest countries when it comes to water. The demand for water has increased by 20% due to the influx of refugees.
5. Za’atari Refugee Camp is the biggest Refugee Camp in the Middle East. Approximately 81,500 Syrians live here, making it the country’s fourth largest “city”
6. Za’atari Refugee Camp in Jordan, where you support the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) team, is around 100 kilometres east of Nazareth.
7. The LWF team at Za’atari, offers young people age 14 – 17 a Peace Oasis, where they are trained in peace-building activities and conflict resolution.
8. In Jordan’s capital Amman, 68 Iraqi refugees are living in a church. LWF supports them with a monthly food ration.
9. Our LWF team reports:
- 1,958 families have received food coupons
- 2,000 families have received hygiene coupons
- 1,268 people have received psycho-social support
10. Through ALWS, you can help Syrian refugees in Jordan with:
Food Vouchers: 6 x monthly ration one person: $158
Hygiene Kit: 6,000 urgently needed to protect health: $65
Blankets: winter in Jordan starts in November: $26
Gas heater and bottle: protect a family through winter: $223
Shelter: repair houses in host communities– windows, doors etc: $1625
School Kits: uniform, school bag, learning supplies: $24
* This information is drawn from ACT Alliance SYR151 10 September Situation Report.
Update 1: 8 September 2015
The civil war in Syria over the last four years has killed 220,000 people. It’s estimated half may be civilians. The UN estimates 7.6 million people are displaced inside Syria, and another 4 million people have been forced to neighbouring countries.
Your help is urgently needed NOW to provide life-protecting aid to Syrian refugees who have fled to neighbouring Jordan.
THE ESSENTIALS YOU CAN HELP PROVIDE
- Food Vouchers: 6 x monthly ration one person: $158
- Hygiene Kit: 6,000 urgently needed to protect health: $65
- Blankets: winter in Jordan starts in November: $26
- Gas heater and bottle: protect a family through winter: $223
- Shelter: repair houses in host communities– windows, doors etc: $1625
- School Kits: uniform, school bag, learning supplies: $24
Photo : P Jeffrey
Important: These examples show how your donation can help people in ALWS-supported projects. Should ALWS receive income beyond what is needed in this project, those funds will be used for similar work in other areas.
Protect lives NOW
The people you help are part of the 629,000 people who have fled to Jordan. (Jordan borders Syria to the south-west, and 1 in 13 people here now are a Syrian refugee.)
Your help will be directed where it is most needed in four key areas:
- Za’atari Refugee Camp (with 80,000+ people, it is now 4th largest city in Jordan)
HOW YOUR HELP IS DELIVERED
Your help will be delivered by our ALWS partner, Lutheran World Federation Jordan.
LWF was first registered with the Jordanian Government in 1958. It is registered with the Jordanian Government as a charitable agency of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land.
Your ALWS action now is part of a much larger effort by churches of many denominations from all around the world, working together as ACT Alliance. This includes work for people displaced within Syria itself, and also Syrian refugees in Lebanon, and also the communities hosting Syrian refugees. Donate now
YOUR ALWS ACTION
Our ALWS family has supported Lutheran World Federation action to help Syrian refugees in Jordan for the last two years, as you can see below:
Money sent to help Syrian refugees
20 September 2013
8 November 2013
2 October 2014
10 February 2015
26 March 2015
WELCOMING THE STRANGER
It is not only in Syria that people are fleeing conflict and seeking refuge.
Our ALWS family supports tens of thousands of refugees from countries like South Sudan and Somalia, as they come to refugee camps at Kakuma and Dadaab in Kenya.
In fact in Kenya, Lutheran World Federation, who delivers our ALWS aid, is one of the largest partner of the UNHCR (United Nations High Commission for Refugees).
The world cannot turn its back on people who have become refugees.
As ALWS, we won’t. While we continue to work for long-term solutions by supporting stronger, self-reliant communities in places where there is poverty, injustice and conflict …
… we also seek to ‘welcome the stranger’ and be the friend they need at their time of crisis.
In despair and far from home I call to you.
Take me to a safe refuge …
UPDATE March 2014: Your care delivered
Syrian refugee families fleeing conflict are so grateful for the help they've received from you.
In partnership with other Lutheran agencies around the world, your care has provided direct practical help to refugees in Za’atari Refugee Camp in Jordan, as well as to local Jordanian families giving front line care and hospitality. Your gifts will help them to survive the long, cold winter.
- More than 3,000 host families in Jordan have received items like gas heaters plus refill bottle.
- In Za'atari Refugee Camp, 3 5,000 sweaters were distributed.
- You also helped refugee children recover from trauma. Daily psychosocial support activities are offered plus hot meals to 150 young refugees.
- About 14 classrooms built by our partners Lutheran World Federation Jordan have been handed over to the Jordanian Ministry of Education.
- Plus, in the north of Jordan, 3,400 food vouchers were distributed to 1,700 Syrian refugee and Jordanian families in host communities.
Welcoming refugees is a practical way Christians can show our governments we believe caring for the poor must always be a priority.
Most of all, these people who have lost everything, seen loved ones killed, witnessed the horror of chemical weapons, desperately need to know someone cares. As a Lutheran family, seeking to be a church where love comes to life, we do.
Thank you for caring for desperate families fleeing the conflict in Syria. It's because of you they're now safe, secure, and cared for.
Through ALWS you also support emergency action in Northern Iraq, in response to this regional crisis. Click here for October 2014 update