Syrian Refugee Crisis - Jordan

The Syria conflict remains the biggest humanitarian, peace and security crisis facing the world today. The United Nations estimates 13.1 million people in Syria need humanitarian assistance, including 6.6 million who are internally displaced and 1.5 million living in hard-to-reach areas. A further 5.6 million people have fled the violence in Syria to neighbouring countries, including Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt. In Lebanon, Syrian refugees make up one-quarter of the population – the highest per capita concentration of refugees in the world. Over 91 percent of refugees in the region are residing in host communities, which is placing a strain on local resources, infrastructure and services. An estimated 465,000 Syrians have been killed in the fighting and over one million have been injured.

The AHP Response

Sana*, a Syrian refugee living with her family in Jordan, initially struggled to overcome the trauma of growing up in a conflict zone and her schooling suffered. Thanks to a stable school environment provided by Caritas, she is now an academic high-achiever © Caritas Australia. * Name changed to protect identity.

Sana*, a Syrian refugee living with her family in Jordan, initially struggled to overcome the trauma of growing up in a conflict zone and her schooling suffered. Thanks to a stable school environment provided by Caritas, she is now an academic high-achiever © Caritas Australia. * Name changed to protect identity.

In 2016, the Australian Government announced a $220 million, three-year humanitarian package to respond to the Syria crisis. This includes humanitarian assistance for Syria and its neighbours, as well as longer-term resilience support for Jordan and Lebanon focused on improving education and livelihoods opportunities for refugees and host communities. The humanitarian funding is being delivered through United Nations agencies, international humanitarian organisations and Australian NGOs through the AHP, reaching people in need across the region.

In Jordan, Caritas Australia and Oxfam Australia are supporting refugee communities with education and livelihood projects focusing on refugee camps and host communities.

The Caritas Australia education project is assisting almost 2,500 children each year through educational activities and school refurbishments and upgrades to improve access for disabled children. Working in refugee host communities in the Fuheis, Madaba and Zarqa governorates, the project provides kindergarten classes to four and five-year olds, remedial classes for six to 15-year olds, as well as catch-up classes, learning packs for students and teachers, and support to encourage refugee children to return to school.

Of the estimated 1.2 million Syrians in Jordan, 35.5 percent are children between the ages of five and 17 years. Although Jordan’s public schools are open to refugees, approximately 37 percent of Syrian refugee children are not enrolled in formal schools. A year or more out of school can translate into significant future loss of opportunity for refugee children.

Counsellors and teachers are trained to identify and support children with psychosocial needs, and Caritas provides a specialised counselling curriculum, individual and group therapy sessions, and referrals where necessary.

Oxfam Australia is working in the Za’atari refugee camp, home to more than 80,000 Syrians, the majority of whom (more that 60%) are under 24 years. Oxfam is supporting over 1,100 families through innovative livelihoods activities that seek to engage and empower women while protecting the camp environment.

Oxfam’s household-level recycling project is the first of its kind in Jordan. With two recycling sites, the project now covers household sorting and waste collection across the camp’s 12 districts. Refugee communities are able to generate income through the sale of waste, and the project has seen a 21% reduction in waste at local landfill sites. The project is designed to create almost 580 jobs and provide skills training to refugees.

Oxfam is working in three districts, and aims to train 240 women in the planting, growing and harvesting of organic vegetables in camp greenhouses. They also offer training in the making of recycled tote bags, using old camp tents and have worked to identify markets where these tents can be sold. Oxfam is also piloting a carpet-making project, providing carpet-making kits, support for materials and technical and business training. This pilot will initially target 50 people (35 men and 15 women). 

Jordan, 2016Clare Price