The Danish Minister for Development, Ulla Tørnæs, visited DRC Community Centers during a two day trip to Jordan. She expressed great admiration for the work being done.
The work room was filled with activity – as usual one might add – in the SANAD Community Center run by the Danish Refugee Council in Azraq refugee camp in central Jordan. The Danish Minister for Development Ulla Tørnæs was clearly impressed by the livelihood-project in the center, which she toured as part of a two day visit to Jordan to see and to hear about the living conditions for Syrian refugees in the country.
In the sewing room she met Samira Naji, who works as a volunteer in the large sewing project. The 43 year old mother of two is originally from Damascus but now works as a seamstress in the livelihood project, which has expanded recently and now not only provides clothes for sale in Azraq camp but also manufactures the school uniforms for the children of the camp.
“I was really happy to talk to her, she approached me with a big smile on her face,” Samira Naji says about meeting the Minister.
Focus on durable solutions
Ms. Tørnæs spent time talking to some of the residents in Nuzha, East Amman and Azraq camp, to hear about their living conditions after having been forced to flee their homes in Syria because of the conflict. This is also what happened to Samira Naji. After her husband disappeared she waited and hoped to hear from him again, but three years ago she was forced to flee with her two children in order to find safety for them.
She now calls Azraq Camp her temporary home. She and more than 53.000 other Syrians live in the tented city in the desert. Life is not easy, she says, but she has found hope.
“When I first came to the camp, I became very depressed. This lasted until I found this job as a volunteer in the sewing workshop, because now I am doing something really productive every day and I can provide for the basic needs of my children with the money, I make,” Samira Naji says.
The Danish Refugee Council has a great focus on durable solutions which among a wide range of other things include livelihood training in the community centers operated by DRC. This aims to provide refugees with the opportunity to become self-reliant through a range of skills trainings including tailoring, gardening, business management and others.
After the visit, the Danish Minister for Development expressed great admiration for the work being done in DRC Jordan- SANAD Community Centers with the support of the Danish development agency, DANIDA, and calling it “important work”:
“I am proud that Denmark is among the countries contributing to the response to the Syrian Crisis and hopefully the Syrians will be able to move back to their country one day when it is peaceful again,” Ulla Tørnæs said.
Refugees living in Jordan
At the end of 2016, Jordan is host to approximately 724,000 registered refugees. Jordan hosts the second highest number (87) of refugees per 1,000 inhabitants in the world. Among them, 656,170 are Syrian refugees, 58,455 are Iraqi refugees registered with the UNHCR and 16,000 are Palestine refugees from Syria registered with UNRWA.
In addition to these registered refugees, an unknown number of unregistered refugees reside in Jordan. Approximately 20% of Syrian refugees live in the three camps situated in the Northern governorates (Za’atari, Azraq and the Emirati Camp).
DRC in East Amman
This is the fourth community center operated by DRC in Jordan, following operations in Maán, Karak and Al Mahatta. Approximately 22% of Nuzha population are Syrian Refugees. 82% of Syrian Households have been in Jordan for 3+ years. , 17% arrived within the last 2 years.
Al Nuzha SANAD Community service center aims to create a safe space in East Amman for people to participate and engage in activities, which promote cooperation and mutual understanding in the community and for refugees and residents alike. The community center was opened in October 2016 in partnership with the Jordanian Ministry of Social Development to address the affected population challenges and work towards increased access to service. Since the beginning of its operations, more than 2,630 beneficiaries have visited the center; of which 1860 are Syrian refugees (70%) and 703 whom are Jordanians and from other nationalities.
Several activities are offered at Nuzha SANAD Community Center, such as; access to livelihood opportunities, child friendly space, referral services, Community events, multimedia platforms and training courses and practical skills development.
DRC in Azraq Camp
The 15 km2 stretch of land, which was opened in April 2014, is one of the two official camps hosting Syrian refugees in Jordan. It now hosts over 53,000 Syrian refugees, where 58% of the inhabitants are children.
Currently, DRC provides livelihood activities; which include cash for-work, skills development, productive income-generating activities and a market assessment. In preparation for durable solutions, DRC emphasizes the necessary link between skills development and self-reliance in its activities by ensuring all trainees are provided with income generating opportunities upon successful completion of an advanced skills development course.
In compliment to the development of technical skills, graduates engaged in livelihood activities with DRC are provided with access to a wide arrange of soft skills trainings including financial literacy, business management, and communication techniques. Current skills trainings available at SANAD Livelihood Centre include advanced sewing and tailoring, gardening, shoe repair, painting and camp beautification, and electrical maintenance. In the upcoming year, DRC will also provide day-care services for all individuals engaged in a livelihood activity to increase the participation of female refugees. Outside the camps, DRC works in host communities with refugees to secure legal documentation such as birth and marriage certificates.
In 2017, DRC plans to open a child friendly space as well as run structured psychosocial activities for Syrian refugees. These activities help support children and adolescents deal with the trauma they have experienced and to give them a safe outlet to express themselves.