The Power of Relationship Eases Refugees’ Burdens

Not so long ago, thousands of families in Syria and Iraq found their lives turned upside down. A need for safe harbor drove them to nearby Jordan. Within a year more than half a million were living in an unfamiliar land.

There was little time or means to carry much with them. Jobs, homes and most possessions had to be abandoned. Schooling was interrupted. Some took up residence in the Zatari refugee camp in northern Jordan. Others made do in abandoned buildings or makeshift tents. Still others teamed to rent small houses or apartments, but in conditions frequently crowded beyond comfort.

Beyond the need for basic necessities such as food and water is the equally essential need for hope. Humans have demonstrated amazing resilience in a variety of difficult situations, but the grief and shock that accompany leaving one’s friends, family members, familiar surroundings and general way of life can overwhelm the strongest spirit. What does the abrupt loss of career and income do to the self-esteem of a man who has served as his family’s main provider? What fears shadow the newly-widowed wife who must now take on that role? Will children deprived of education for months or even years on end ever catch up enough to take their place in a competitive world? 

Such are the questions both helpers and those helped regularly ask themselves. And the answer, if not simple, quick or easy, comes in the form of relationship.

“We listen to them,” says Jamal Hashweh, Regional Field Leader for the Middle East. “They are very touched by our personal care.”

Such care has taken the form of driving out to have a cup of tea with a family and then returning to deliver a food box when they reveal their pantry is empty. It has involved speaking encouragement to the young mother broken by years of neglect and mistreatment. It even involves taking drawing supplies to a wife with artistic talent, so she can not only continue the work she loves, but earn money from the sale of that work, allowing her to contribute to her family’s support.

As always, the most important goal is to lead these whose lives were so disrupted from relief to self-sustainability—which is the wish of the families as well. Through the conduit of relationship, the principles of Transformational Community Developmentwe share with them will help them gradually rebuild and restore.

Will you join us in bringing hope, help, and even joy to these families in July and the months to come?