What has the summer looked like for our young Iraqi friends now displaced in Jordan?
To attend a Jordanian school, Iraqi refugee children must have their test scores and registration documents. Unfortunately, having fled the violence in Iraq, many children do not have this documentation. One of the goals at FRRME’s school – the Marka Learning Centre – is to help get these documents back in the hands of the students that need them. The Iraqi government visited our school and agreed to testing the students in order to give them the paperwork they need in order to enroll locally.
The test administered by the Iraqi government comes at the beginning of September and the students have been diligently preparing, even through the summer break. The children will then return again for regular school as the Autumn term begins. Some will return to the Marka Learning Centre, while others will be able to attend local Jordanian schools. Either way, Iraqi refugee children have an opportunity to gain an education.
In addition to education, the Child Sponsorship Programme is designed to cover a student’s basic living needs. Because Iraqi citizens – no matter what their previous profession in Iraq – can’t legally be employed in Jordan, there is no way for a family to provide for themselves. This is intentional, so as to encourage their relocation elsewhere.
These basic needs, which are being met my FRRME, are the most urgent at hand. We’re providing safe housing for the children, food coupons that allow families to do their own shopping, and vital health care. We also meet together as a church body.
Without this support, circumstances for refugee families here in Jordan can be dire. The families we work with left their homes, jobs, and possessions in a moment of chaos and alarm in Iraq. They came to Jordan with the clothes on their backs, the money in their pockets, and their lives. Any money they had in Iraqi banks was lost. The few that were able to bring money with them have by now run out.
Through FRRME’s work, families know they have not been forgotten, that they are not alone, that God is with them.
Another aspect that must be understood when learning about the children’s lives here in Jordan is the transience of being a refugee. No Iraqi refugee can make a plan to remain in Jordan – it is simply not an option. And so the lives of the families here are lived in this unknown, pause-like state with no work, no direction, and little hope for relocation to another country unless immediate family is already there.
I am happy to write that three families that are good friends of FRRME have recently been granted the opportunity to relocate to other countries such as Canada, the U.S and France, but these instances are few and far between.
When people are only waiting to leave a place, it affects everything; whether or not they seek to build relationships or invest themselves in a local church – it leaves people constantly wondering when, or if, they will ever get to leave.
Our families truly need places outside of Jordan to call home. Even though each new place would bring with it challenges of its own, at least it would be a place they could settle down in the long term. In the meantime, FRRME is making a real difference to the lives of Iraqi refugees here in Jordan.
If you would like to help support the Marka Learning Centre in Jordan, you can do so by visiting the ‘Donate’ page on this website, or by clicking here.
Heather Joy Quinones
Project Officer, Jordan