Abandoned, but Holding On to Hope

Refugee Families in Jordan

The Iraqi refugee project, “Families Adopting Families” (FAF), is still going and increasing week by week. Many families are in need of all kinds of help. Their situation is heart-breaking. Many of them were in a good and proper financial state in Iraq, and now they are going around asking for help. It’s not easy for them. I don’t think that would be easy for anyone. You can see how broken and weak they are when they come to approach us, or when we find them. They are truly desperate, yet they are holding on to hope, with tearful smiles on their faces.

Here is one of the many stories included in the FAF project:

*Alma found us when she was desperate for help. An unknown man, she said, had directed her to our office. He was very sure we were going to help her. She was so broken-hearted. Though it was her first time meeting us, she felt at peace and safe enough to open her heart to us. She has four daughters, and is only 27 years old. She has been in many difficult situations during her journey. Alma has no nationality, but was living in the areas on the edges of Kuwait.

Her husband, for various reasons, went to England. In order to follow him, she had to leave Kuwait. So she went to Iraq, where there was extremism between Sunni and Shi’a Muslims. Due to the unrest, she went to Jordan. During that time, she was pregnant with their fourth child. It was such a hard time. She arrived in Jordan, but since she was pregnant, the embassy wouldn’t allow her to enter until she gave birth, so she decided to wait in Iraq. She got very tired and started to bleed. Since she had no money, she didn’t take any medicine. Her situation started to go from bad to worse, until it became very critical.

She had no one to stay with her three girls when she entered the hospital, and that only after she found someone to pay the costs. The girls stayed the entire time, waiting for their mom to get out safely. They sat in the hospital, crying alone. The oldest one among them is ten. Imagine how difficult that was for them to handle. While giving birth, because Alma hadn’t had the medicine she needed to treat her bleeding, her situation became a matter of life and death. The doctor had to remove her uterus. When she learned of this, she broke down and called her husband. He was very mad that she had given birth to another girl and that her uterus had been removed. He had wanted and waited for a boy. At that moment he told her, “You go one way and I go another,” and he divorced her. He even dropped her invitation at the embassy. She had to stay in Iraq with her four little girls.

Here in Iraq, Alma suffered further as many men tried to harass her. She tried to work to get money so she and her little girls could live. One day she went to work cleaning houses and left the girls home. When she got back, she found the newborn baby’s leg was burned. From that moment, she stopped leaving home. She has no one to look after the girls, and they are still very young. Four times in the past year she has been kicked out because she couldn’t pay the rent. One time she stayed three days in the streets, under the heavy rain, until she found another place to stay.

This young lady is very broken and sad. Alma has to play the roles of both dad and mom at the same time for her girls and is so concerned and afraid. She doesn’t know what the future is going to bring. She has absolutely no hope, as life has treated her very badly. Her eldest daughter tried once to commit suicide. As you can see, this is the result of lacking parental support. Obviously Alma cannot do everything herself.

Her dad is dead, her mom had a stroke, and her brother didn’t help or even intervene between her and her former husband, although he is married to the man’s sister. Furthermore, from her brother Alma discovered that her ex-husband remarried in England.

We arranged to visit Alma at her house. We had a group from Qatar and took some ladies, as there is no man at the house, about a week after her visit to our office. The “furnished” house she is living in with her daughters is in a horrible situation. It has almost nothing in it. We sat with her and listened to her heart and to her pain. We thought it better if the men went out to buy some necessary food items, leaving the ladies with her, in order to let her feel more comfortable while speaking. It was good for her to let it all out and cry, as we know all that she had been through was not easy to deal with.

Just before we left, we spent a little while speaking encouraging words to her heart for healing. She was completely touched. We are planning to send more ladies from the church in the coming days, to encourage her and check on her, to let her feel that she is not alone.

Also, we had three full days of teaching some of the Iraqi refugees. We conducted two medical days, one at the Ashrafieh and one at Al Mahatta. There were three eye doctors checking people’s eyes and giving them glasses as needed. *Sarai, and the ladies she is teaching, have started working on new items besides baby outfits, such as flags. They are doing a great job.

Rami

GHNI Assistant Regional Field Leader, Jordan

*For purposes of security and well-being, "Alma" and "Sarai" are pseudonyms of the people being helped by this project.