Photo credit: ACT Alliance/Paul Jeffrey
MRDF is continuing to respond to the humanitarian crisis caused by the conflict in Syria.
As the war in Syria continues, the number of Syrian refugees requiring humanitarian assistance is growing by the day. The Za’atri refugee camp in Jordan, home to 125,000 Syrian refugees, is now the second largest refugee camp in the world. Every day 1,000–2,000 refugees cross the border from Syria into Jordan hoping to find shelter and protection in the camp.
MRDF is responding to the crisis through our ACT Alliance partner the Lutheran World Federation (LWF). The LWF have been working in Za’atri camp since August 2012 to distribute shelter and non-food items that cover people’s basic needs. Although providing food and shelter is essential for new refugees, one of the most important areas of work is providing psychosocial support.
More than 50 per cent of the refugees fleeing from Syria are children, traumatised by the civil war that has robbed them of homes, family members and social support from friends and extended family. In Za’atri camp the LWF have set up a caravan where they coordinate a range of psychosocial activities, aiming to create a trusting environment where children can freely express their emotions and share their experiences.
Wejdan, the LWF psychosocial specialist, talks to the young people about being happy, sad or scared in an interactive way, often through games and drawing. Some of their responses to the question ‘What makes you sad?’ included: ‘when I can't see my family in Syria’ and ‘when my father kills others in Syria’.
The children LWF work with are often deeply affected by the conflict and will need long-term psychological support because of the resulting post-traumatic stress disorder. The LWF is planning to open a youth empowerment centre or ‘Peace Oasis’ in the camp for young people between 14 and 17 years of age. The aim is to teach the young people life skills including peace building and conflict prevention.
In the coming months the LWF will continue to provide a range of psychosocial support programmes. Tensions between Syrian refugees and Jordanian host communities are increasing due to pressure on water supplies, electricity, and public services and so future projects will include activities to reduce tensions and mitigate conflict communities.
Preparing for winter
As the weather gets increasingly colder the LWF will help refugees prepare for the bitter winter conditions in the camp by distributing gas heaters and warm winter clothes. Find out more about life in Za'atari refugee camp
Please give whatever you can to help MRDF to provide life-saving assistance to those in greatest need, and join us in praying for peace.
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