Jordan: This is why I am here
Amman, 7 August 2018 – Ahmed, a member of the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Jordan Home Visits Team, knocks on the ornate metal door a few times.
After the shuffling of feet, Faheem* opens the door and invites Ahmed inside.
The apartment is larger than most, not the typical home for an urban asylum seeker living Amman, Jordan: a place where rent is exorbitant and housing is limited.
JRS Jordan understands the difficulties of urban displacement, and these visits are an opportunity for them to check-in with particularly vulnerable families.
Once settled in, Ahmad, a Sudanese refugee himself, conducts his visit, asking Faheem how his wife and children are, if their living situation has improved, and whether his back is still in pain. They speak like old friends, each aware of the other’s suffering.
“Here,” Faheem explains, “…we are just surviving.”
Food is still hard to come by, but the means with which to buy food is even more complicated, as Faheem, like many Sudanese refugees living in Jordan, cannot obtain a legal work permit.
The one-time cash assistance JRS provided to him came just in time, and for that, he is grateful: “To be honest, JRS is the only organisation that works with Sudanese refugees here in Jordan.”
He says his family could not stay in Sudan, it became too unsafe, especially due to his human rights activism. It was not a place he could let his children grow up, and so they came here.
Forever a human rights activist, he is now also stay-at-home dad. His wife is 9-months pregnant. They spend their days waiting – waiting for the chance to work, perhaps for somewhere else to go, and most certainly for the arrival of their new daughter.
His first two children, he says with peaceful eyes, spend their days in school. “I have to look for a better future for my children…this is why I am here.”
*Names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals