Syrian refugees who have been displaced from Syria since the beginning of the conflict are facing their fifth harsh winter this year. Winter Assistance for Relief and Mitigation or WARM Plus is World Vision Jordan’s winter project, funded by World Vision Hong Kong and World Vision Korea, to help Syrian refugee families survive the cold weather. The project includes the distribution of a jacket, one pair of shoes and five pairs of socks up to two children per family between the ages of 6 and 16. Families also receive one gas cylinder and 40 Jordanian Dinars ($56 USD) to fill it each month.
It was a busy day at the Princess Basma Youth Resource Centre in Khurbet Al-Wahadneh in Ajloun city, 76 kilometres north of the capital city, Amman. A truck loaded with gas cylinders was parked outside and World Vision Jordan staff were inside guiding and assisting people to collect their winter items. Naeema’s family consists of five members; herself, her husband Mousa, 50, and her three sons: Fadel, Qassem and Fares. They arrived in Jordan in October, 2012. Naeema, 48, says the family waited at the border for three days before being able to cross.
When the family first arrived in Jordan, they stayed with relatives, after that they moved from small apartment to small apartment before finally moving to Ebbeen in Ajloun city.
“It was and is still psychologically difficult to live here,” says Naeema. “Life just does not work this way!” she says, expressing her frustration.
Even though the family is settled in their new home, it is not an ideal place to live as the ceiling is very low. When it snowed recently, the doors got stuck. “It was and is still psychologically difficult to live here,” says Naeema. “Life just does not work this way!” she says, expressing her frustration.
Fares, 9, has suffered from a brain atrophy since birth. As a result, he seems distant and finds it difficult to focus. “I would enrol Fares in a private school if I had the money, because he loves school,” she says. “He used to get beaten by schoolmates in public schools in Jordan,” she explains. “My heart aches for Fares, I cannot give him what he desires. I forget my own sickness (Naeema suffers from Diabetes and high blood pressure) and start thinking of his. I ask God to grant us patience,” she says.
“My heart aches for Fares, I cannot give him what he desires. I forget my own sickness and start thinking of his. I ask God to grant us patience,” she says.
Qaseem, 15, dropped out of school in the 8th grade due to assaults by other students in Jordan. Naeema says that tensions still remain between Jordanians and Syrians. Fadel, 21, the oldest son, started working in a local charity organisation, after dropping out of school to help support the family. He has received 200 Jordanian Dinar ($282 USD) in the past 3 months. He strives to do whatever work he can, including carpentry, painting and carrying items from one place to another to help his family have an income. The family used to receive cash from one of the organisations that targets people with disabilities. The money was supposed to be used to pay medical costs for Fares but the family used it to pay rent, which is more than $200 USD per month. “What God is offering us is enough. We thank World Vision for the winter items we have just received,” says Naeema.
Like mothers around the world, Naeema is happy when her children are safe and happy. “May God bless them and offer them a better life—a life that is free of wars and destruction,” she said.
"Beneficiaries were excited to receive the winter items, you could see in their eyes how much the assistance is needed,” he concluded.
The family is one of 700 households who received winter assistance through the WARM+ programme this year.“The project came at the right time,” said Ali Al-Khazendar, World Vision Jordan’s Cash Programming Officer. “During worsening weather conditions, beneficiaries were excited to receive the winter items, you could see in their eyes how much the assistance is needed,” he concluded.