By Soraya Dali-Balta, IFRC
For more than five years, Jordan has been home to at least 600,000 Syrian refugees spread across difference governorates, with the majority living with host communities in Amman. After five years of conflict, it has become more difficult for local and international organizations to maintain support for refugees and host communities.
Ammar Al Nasser and his family of five – including his children and elderly mother – rely primarily on the the support of the Jordanian National Red Crescent Society.
For two years, the family lived in a tiny laundry room after fleeing violence in Homs. Conditions were so poor that his children, Jamal, 10 and Fatima, 6, were constantly falling sick. But with no money, they had no other option.
Like all Syrian refugees in Jordan, Ammar is not allowed to work. Despite this restriction, he managed to find irregular, temporary work in a shoe factory.
Although they needed the income, Ammar had family responsibilities. “I had to quit working because I couldn’t stay away from home any longer. My mother needs me. She is bedridden and has back pain, high blood pressure and diabetes,” Ammar said.
From their arrival in Jordan, the family struggled to find money to pay rent and to provide medication for his mother and his ailing wife. Without work, the challenges have continued to grow.
Last year, Ammar and his family started receiving financial support from the Jordanian National Red Crescent Society which enabled them to move from their single room.
“We receive names of people who are potential beneficiaries from the cash transfer programme from UNHCR,” Sawsan Abu Rassa, who supports the programme in Jordan, explained. “Families with elderly or sick members or children are always a priority.”
Ammar said the additional funds made life more bearable for them all. “We receive 150 Jordanian dinars each month. We spend it on rent and on my mother and my wife’s medications,” he said.
The family’s new ground-floor apartment is much cleaner and safer than their previous one, and has more space to cook. Except for Ammar’s mother, they all sleep on mattresses on the floor.
The assistance provided by the Red Crescent is a lifeline. “We do not receive support from any other organization. When we are short on money, I borrow from people who know about our situation and are willing to help,” Ammar said.
The cash transfer programme of the Jordanian National Red Crescent Society is supported by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and helps about 1,200 Syrian refugee families every month.