Caritas Jordan has opened a new refugee centre with support from Development and Peace-Caritas Canada and the Canadian government. The Canadian ambassador to Jordan, Mr. Peter MacDougall, was on hand to help inaugurate the centre, which is an important part of Canada’s commitment to help those affected by the ongoing wars in Syria and Iraq.
The centre, located in the Mafraq governorate, will provide a variety of services to refugees and vulnerable Jordanians, such as healthcare and counselling, and will include a medical clinic, a child-friendly space, and a room for training and awareness.
Caritas Jordan runs close to 10 similar centres throughout the country to respond to the growing needs of refugees. This small country, which is approximately the size of Maine, is currently hosting over 655,000 Syrian and 58 000 Iraqi refugees. The Mafraq governorate, where the new centre is located, borders Syria and comprises the main crossing points used by Syrians to enter into Jordan.
Since 2013, the Canadian government and Development and Peace have provided $7.6 million (cdn) to support these centres, which last year alone helped 58,000 vulnerable people.
The centres, however, are more than just places to receive treatments and services. The warmth and compassion of the staff are comforts that help to those who have lost their homeland. For many refugees, the centres are their first point of contact once they arrive in a city, and the staff help to break the isolation they are experiencing. In fact, many refugees, become volunteers so they can help others arriving! This was the case for Rahaf Al Jabar, 23, a Syrian refugee from Damascus who fled with her parents. Coming to Jordan meant abandoning family and friends, as well as her studies. Thankfully, she found a new sense of purpose at a Caritas centre.
“We were foreigners. We knew nobody here. We managed to make friend with our neighbours and they told me about Caritas. Here at Caritas, I felt the spirit of love. I felt their mission and it was close to my heart.” Today, Rahaf is a volunteer with Caritas Jordan.
“For me, working in a Christian organization is not strange. I had many Christian friends back home. I just want to help Syrians, especially the children.”