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Revisiting the Syrian Refugee Crisis: Hopes and Frustrations with Marwa Aly

A journal entry from Trinity College Muslim Chaplain Marwa Aly during her time in Jordan with Syrian refugees

IRUSA invited a group of dynamic women community leaders on a visit to Islamic Relief USA’s Projects in Jordan serving Syrian refugees. It expose them, and educate them first hand about IRUSA’s  women’s empowerment projects in Jordan, as well as the refugee projects. It was an opportunity to not only meet the staff and volunteers who make the delivery of humanitarian aid possible, but to come face-to-face with the very people we serve.

How Perspectives can Change

Today was both an uplifting and perspective-shifting day as we traveled to both Ramtha and Mafraq, two cities that host many of the Syrian refugees in Jordan. To give context, Jordan is a country that hosts over 600,000 Syrian refugees and 1.3 million refugees in total–including our Palestinian, Somali, and Iraqi brothers and sisters.

The high cost of living coupled with high unemployment makes it nearly impossible for refugees to obtain any type of jobs in the country and they rely heavily on Islamic Relief USA and other relief organizations to get their basic necessities met. 

Working for the Long Term

Islamic Relief USA is focused on building a more sustainable model and has invested in creating a training program that teaches women how to become entrepreneurs through embroidery, accessory making, and crocheting.

Today, I had the pleasure of meeting Huda, who beamed with pride as she showed me her beautiful crochet pieces while explaining how her newfound passion has allowed her to be a better, more confident mother. “Sometimes, my husband gets jealous when I spend so much time on my pieces, so I rush to hide them before he walks in,” she exclaimed with enthusiasm as we all chuckled with a sense of understanding.

“The time passes so quickly. Everything seems to fade in the background. I don’t care that the tv is on too loudly. I’m grateful that my hands are being used to do something useful. May Allah allow me to open up my own shop one day,” Huda said with a wistful look on her face. 

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