Terre des hommes is responding to the needs of the Syrian children and their families displaced in Jordan by the conflict in Syria. Since March 2011, Syrian civilians have sought refuge in Jordan, with about 40,000 registered with UNHCR at the start of August. It is estimated that tens of thousands more are in need of humanitarian assistance. And the numbers are growing.
Until the end of July 2012, the newly arrived refugees were going through transit facilities for screening by the authorities before being bailed out and hosted in the Jordanian community, mainly in the northern governorates of the Kingdom, but also further South and in Amman. They are sharing the house of relatives – there are strong tribal and family links across the border between Syria and Jordan – or renting on their own in the cities or villages around Irbid, Ramtha and Mafraq. Crossing the border with limited resources, they are very dependent on humanitarian assistance (distribution of food, NFI and cash from local charities). Very often however, this assistance is not systematic and the refugees in the surrounding villages of the main city centres are left by themselves and the most vulnerable are sidelined.
Due to the ongoing conflict in Syria, this population has endured significant violent events. Abuse and torture of women and children (especially boys) have been reported. A generally low education level is reported among children and families in parallel with high levels of poverty, health and nutritional issues. Many of the protection issues (child labour, early marriage, domestic violence) are often related to pre-existing protection issues. Vulnerable Syrians are also at risk of exploitation (increased rent of the houses, bailing out with fault promises…).
Terre des hommes is partnering with UNICEF and Swiss Solidarity to bring child protection and psychosocial support to the Syrian and Jordanian children and their families within the community. Tdh is building its intervention on a network of community-based organizations well integrated and active on the ground. The approach is to strengthen the local capacities in order to raise awareness on child protection issues with the families and the relevant leaders in the communities, to carry out psychosocial activities with children and later on to provide a focused non specialised support to the most vulnerable.
With the intensification of violence in Syria, the number of displaced Syrian in Jordan has increased dramatically in the last few weeks. This has prompted the Government of Jordan to open the official closed camp of Za’atri, near Mafraq, for the upcoming Syrian refugees where only those with critical conditions and the most vulnerable will be allowed to be bailed out Investing into a community-based approach, Tdh will try to make sure that the protection and psychosocial needs of the Syrian population will continue to be addressed as well as the needs of the host communities.