One of Tearfund’s partner organisations in Amman, Jordan has been running exercise classes for refugee men from Iraq and Syria. It’s been a big hit and brought some surprising benefits with it...
Walid, the coach is affectionately known as ‘the Captain’ by his keep fit class. What he lacks in expensive gym equipment he makes up for with a huge dose of enthusiasm.
The ethos of his classes revolves around teamwork, camaraderie and encouragement. Participants range from a three-year-old boy to a man in his 70s. In the corner of the room a prosthetic leg is propped against the wall as its owner joins in with the exercises on his knees. There is a joyful atmosphere and it is easy to forget, that this is a room full of men broken by their experiences of war and persecution.
Many who have come with their families to Jordan, struggle with depression. Few of them are able to find work, and they are often dealing with trauma from the conflict they have fled from. All this has a knock-on effect, with high levels of domestic violence occurring among refugee families.