The Amal Project (Amal means hope in Arabic) has delivered its first set of recreational caravans to children in Jordan’s second refugee camp.
The Global Citizen Foundation (GCF) in collaboration with ASmallWorld Foundation joined the Amal Project initiated by Dubai-based fashion brand GlamOnYou in visiting the Azraq refugee camp in Jordan to deliver its first charity project in mid-August.
Under the scorching summer sun, GCF and its partners delivered two caravans as part of the project Each will function as recreational play centers for the children. The caravans have been customised to offer optimum light with additional windows added, and the exterior has been wrapped with playful stickers to add a hint of colour to an otherwise uniform camp.
The educational playrooms are filled with books, stationary and toys for the children, who make up 50 percent of the camp’s population. Paid volunteers from the camp will supervise the children and make sure it remains a safe environment.
Mr. Armand Arton, co-founder and trustee of the Global Citizen Foundation, said that the new facilities where much more than physical structures offering shelter to the children of the camp.
“We hope these interactive spaces will become part of anongoing rehabilitation process to help these kids deal with the horrific experiences they have already witnessed in their young lives. They are meant to encourage children to interact and express themselves and, essentially, let children be children.”
Most of the families living in the Azraq camp left everything behind when they fled Syria, expecting the war to be temporary. With little to no savings and few belongings, they are surviving on the bare minimum. Two years on their lives continue to be on hold.
Unlike Jordan’s largest camp, Zaatari, which accommodates more than 80,000 refugees and is located 12 kilometers from the Syrian border, Azraq is highly decentralised. It is divided into four districts, or villages, that can each house 10,000 to 15,000 refugees.
The rows of white metal cabins that make up the villages and house around five people in the 24 square meter space, provide little shelter from the elements. In the summer temperatures reach up to 50 degrees and in winter they dip to -5 degrees.
Each district has a medical clinic, and there is a central hospital run by the Red Cross as well as two schools with capacity to teach up to 10,000 pupils. However, families have only one supermarket and often complain that it is too expensive. The store accepts the vouchers handed out by the World Food Programme to each family, equivalent to $28 per month per person, or less than $1 per day.
Acknowledging that the Amal Project is only a drop in the ocean, Armand Peponnet, co-founder and trustee of GCF, said he was pleased with the positive impact the caravans have had on the children.
“I’ve been told by the volunteers that the very same children I witnessed playing and laughing at the opening of our caravans couldn’t even talk when they reached the camp as they were so traumatised by the terrible experience they had in Syria and during their journey to the camp.
I really believe that the social activities offered within these child-safe areas like ours and others will prove to be the most efficient way to get children back on their feet and to bring back a sense of normalcy to their lives,” said Peponnet.