Dodging Bullets

Refugees in Jordan

 

Yemeni Refugees in Jordan

 

Sabeen, Madan, Sadiya (gma)

 

This family came to Jordan in 2017 from Eden, the capital of Yemen. *Sabeen and *Madan have been in Jordan for three years, and *Sadiya, Sabeen’s mother for one year. Sabeen and her mother Sadiya have been going to a local medical clinic. Sabeen has anaemia and her mother has high blood pressure. The  clinic provided them with a heater, and it sounded like someone visits or checks in on them. Sabeen said almost all her other family is back in Yemen (she has one sister in another city in Jordan), and she has no support here. She is very thankful for our help and support. 

 

Their flat (one room) walls are largely covered in black mold. S’s mother is having a difficult time withstanding the cold weather. She seemed in good spirits though, and said when it’s sunny out she enjoys sitting in the courtyard and talking with the neighbours. When it’s cold outside, her friends come and visit her at the flat. 

 

Since the war started in Yemen in 2014, things were difficult for Sabeen but grew increasingly tougher over time. It was very difficult to get food. Her husband, Madan, has several years of experience working for a Canadian oil company in Yemen and speaks English well. When the war started, all the foreign companies pulled out and Madan couldn’t find work. 

 

Sabeen and Madan have been to the UN to ask for help several times. They have refugee status but receive no assistance for food and rent from the UN. The UN officials told them that because Madan has skills and speaks English, he should just work in Jordan illegally. Madan does odd jobs as a labourer off and on when he can find them, but he doesn’t have consistent work. They are very scared he will be caught working illegally by the police. Sabeen said every time she seeks help, she is refused and she leaves in tears.

 

Sabeen and Madan have been married 10 years but have no children. She didn’t say it explicitly, but I think Sabeen is unable to have children. She graduated from secondary school in Yemen and really likes reading. She is studying English once a week.

 

There was once an incident in particular that convinced them to leave. Sabeen was sitting in her house kneading bread in the middle of the day. There was a violent group hiding a little ways up a mountainside, above her neighbourhood. They opened fire (I think machine guns) into the houses. Several bullets rained into the room where Sabeen was sitting. One bullet very nearly missed her head, but went behind her head and hit the wall. Her next door neighbour was a really nice young woman who had just gotten engaged. That neighbour was killed. Her whole body was full of bullets.

 

Sabeen said we were the first Americans she had ever met. She wanted to know why we came to Jordan and why we wanted to meet Yemeni refugees. She said it seems to her that the Syrian war and crisis is covered in the international news and many people around the world know about it, but she doubted if people in other countries were paying attention to the war and crisis in Yemen. I told her I do read about Yemen in the news sometimes, especially about the cholera epidemic and the lack of food. Sabeen said she was glad people in other countries haven’t forgotten about her and her country completely. She was glad she got to meet us, and she thinks maybe it was for a reason.

 

Sabeen said above all what she really wants is peace. She said the war she experienced in Yemen was physical; trying to find enough food and trying to stay safe from shootings and bombs. She feels physically safe in Jordan, but her war here is mental and emotional. She’s trying really hard to fight depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Her anxiety about her family in Yemen, and the bad memories of things she experienced in the war, keep her awake all night, and it’s very difficult to sleep or rest.

 

Families Adopting Families

 

Iraqi Refugees

 

From Basra, *Abdiel’s family moved to Jordan at the end of 2019. He is only 31 years old and a professional photographer and cameraman. He has filmed for a German channel called DW, an Iraqi channel called NRT, and for BBC Arabia. His wife, *Rachana is 29 years old and studied psychology at a college of fine arts in Iraq. She is from Mosul. They met in Sulaymaniyah in 2016 and now have a two-year-old son,*Pabel. The man was visiting his cousin in the area at the time and was there to photograph homes that had been destroyed. The woman’s parents’ home was the only house on their street that was destroyed.  A militant group used it as a headquarters.

The woman’s church was hit by a missile which destroyed the roof.  The militant group then used the courtyard for target practice. The man showed us photos he took of these places. His photography skills are excellent.

 

They have a confirmation number from the Australian embassy for an interview. Some of Abdiel's extended family is already in Australia, but Rachana's parents are still in Iraq. Abdiel wants to resume his career in Australia someday.

 

Abdiel is learning to trust, to be patient, to not try to rush things. He is hoping to have the following provided and solved; rent and a flat free from mold, open doors to reunite with their family in Australia, and to continue growing in hope.

 

TCD Update

  • Food - 65 food boxes
  • Income Generation - continuing to have lunches cooked by Iraqi refugees to enable them to generate some income.
  • Wellness - 23 Patients

 

Thank you!

 

Rami

GHNI Assistant Regional Field Leader

*For the purpose of safety and wellbeing, “Sabeen”, “Madan”, “Sadiya”, “Abdiel”, “Rachana”, and “Pabel” are pseudonyms for individuals being helped by this project.

 

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