We lived in mansions

“Compared to this we lived in mansions,” was the way one Syrian man described the new life of his family of four.

Before fleeing to the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan he had an air conditioning business. He had saved all his life for a new home with all the modern conveniences. He said, “in an instant it was gone”. Rockets from a military jet destroyed his home completely and from there they were on the run dodging shells and bullets, moving only when it was safe until they could cross the border.

This story is typical. I listened to people who were formally in a variety of trades and professions. A large number of the Syrian refugees are middle class people, used to an urban life-style living in houses with water and electricity connections. The arrival at the camp after the trauma of fleeing the country under the cover of darkness and fear of life is an additional shock and has a severe psycho-social impact on adults and children alike.

As well as caring for the physical needs of these people, CLWR also supports psycho social activities particularly for the children.

Here’s what that means.

The uncertainties and potential dangers of the current situation cause many to experience significant depression and problems with anxiety. Psychosocial support will be provided to those most in need, especially for children who have experienced trauma, and for their mothers as primary caregivers, helping to build resilience in children, and to support families’ capacity to provide for the overall wellbeing of their children.

The psychosocial sessions will last for 4 days for 6 hours a day. For the adult participants, the lectures and workshops will include topics on challenges facing the family, ways to express needs, and setting priorities; stress and its impact on human beings; problem-solving strategies and resolving problems through proper steps and communication; how to defuse violent behaviour and thoughts; strategies for parents dealing with their children in crisis; and sharing of experiences through peer groups.

The children’s sessions will include mental health evaluations by trained social workers, games, sports, arts and crafts, singing, and music. The sessions will bring children together in secure and protected environments to build integration, interaction, communication, and confidence/trust building. The sessions encourage better connections between people, and help build a better sense of self and community.

Pray for those delivering such critical services.

Tom Brook

Community Relations Director

This Syrian refugee family was formally middle class. He had an air conditioner business and his new home was bombed and completely destroyed in seconds. R. Granke/CLWR

A view of a very small portion of the refugee camp, home to 45,000 people, mostly women and children.
T. Brook/CLWR

One thought on “We lived in mansions

  1. Pingback: CLWR responds to the needs of Syrian refugees «

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