Fifty years, fifty countries: Jordan

RefugeesHealth50 CountriesJordan

To mark 50 years of Tearfund, we’re sharing about 50 countries where we’ve worked, celebrating God’s provision and power to transform, and praying for each of these nations. This week we’re in Jordan.

In recent years, Jordan has become a place of refuge. A significant number of Iraqis as well as refugees from Yemen and Sudan are now living in Jordan, in addition to hundreds of thousands who have fled the ongoing conflict in Syria.

Around 650,000 registered Syrian refugees, and several hundred thousand unregistered, are settled in Jordan – that’s one tenth of the country’s population. Tearfund has been working through partners in Jordan since the start of the Syria crisis.

In the early stages the focus was on emergency help, providing essential items to newly arrived families. These items included food, kitchen kits, mattresses, blankets, pillows and stoves.

Just like family
More recently, as the conflict continues, our response has turned to longer-term support of both refugees and their host communities.

One such project aims to bring health and hope to men through physical exercise and a life-skills programme.

During the 12-week programme, the men – both refugees and host community members – set themselves physical goals and work through lots of tough issues together. The result is a very special family offering one another support practically, morally and emotionally, regardless of racial, social or religious barriers.

Recently, Sami*, a participant in East Amman, lost his brother to cancer. In order to attend the funeral, Sami had to miss one of the group sessions.

However, after hearing what had happened, five men from the group went straight after the meeting to pay their respects. Despite being of a different religion to Sami, this was no barrier to bringing comfort to their friend in his time of need.

Fit for life
These men are developing healthy relationships with one another, learning to see past their differences and recognise one another as individuals. In addition, they are seeing an improvement in their health as they make changes around diet and exercise, are developing better coping skills and becoming more involved in family life.

‘This past two or three weeks that I’ve attended the classes, I’ve changed more than the whole three years that I’ve been here in Jordan,’ declared one participant. ‘I’m more at peace now, I have more self confidence, I’m more relaxed. My wife told me, you’re not so high maintenance now!’

If you'd like to know more, please visit our Jordan page. And if you've missed any other articles in this series you can find them here.

*Name changed to protect identity

Cheryl Bannatyne

Cheryl is a copywriter for Tearfund where she gets to share the great stories of lives being transformed around the world.