Training will help volunteers deal with the growing refugee crisis in Jordan

Published: 31 December 2013 17:39 CET

By Tommaso Della Longa, IFRC

As the conflict in Syria approaches its third year, many bordering countries are struggling to cope with the number of refugees being displaced by the violence. Dr. Mohammed Al Hadid, president of the Jordan Red Crescent Society, said it was important that the international community did not forget the impact the crisis was having on the region. “Jordan is hosting more than four million refugees between Syrians, Iraqis and Palestinians, placing an unprecedented strain on our community and services,” he said. “We need more efforts to answer to the Syrian humanitarian crisis, Jordan alone cannot cope with it.”

In the society’s headquarters, staff and volunteers work to solve the daily problems they face, while providing the necessary services to families in need.

Dr. Al Haddid said: “Jordan Red Crescent Society carries on its mission to help everyone without any distinction. We have many activities organized for the Syrian refugees including cash transfer programme, psychosocial support, relief and health services. Recently – with the help of the Iraqi Red Crescent – we have opened our hospital to all Syrian refugees.”

Many National Societies of the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement are helping the Jordan Red Crescent Society to respond to the humanitarian needs of the Syrian Refugees. Dr. Al Hadid said he was grateful to have the support of the Movement, but the needs remain enormous and were growing as the weeks passed. “Currently, winterization is one of the top priority needs, as the winter is starting and Jordan is known with its cold weather,” he said. “Humanitarian needs such as blankets, heaters and gas are requested daily by families, whenever they are visited by our social workers. But also we cannot forget other needs such as health, shelter and food.”

In such a complicated situation, the role of Red Crescent volunteers is essential. They respond to the needs of Syrian refugees and at the same time play a role with the host families, helping to maintain stability within the communities, especially during times of tension.

Laila Touqan Abu El Huda, a volunteer with a long history of involvement with the Jordan Red Crescent Society said empathy is the companion in all volunteering activities. “I joined the Movement when I was at school in Beirut in 1958 and then I never stopped volunteering. In 1989, I was recruited by the society’s women's branch and I'm really proud of what we have done so far. The organization has invested in me with training and coaching until I became a board member.”

She said promotion and training for was vital for both volunteers and those they are supporting so the society has a range of courses available at it’s vocational training centre in Amman, covering personal, work and computer skills. “At the moment there are 400 students attending these classes, many of them have started to use what they have learned in a permanent job,” she said.

Facing this huge humanitarian crisis, all these efforts are made to respond to the refugees’ needs but the volunteers are facing many challenges. The ability to commit, continue and be well trained are the biggest challenges.  

Laila Touqan Abu El Huda office is decked with colorful handycrafts that are ready to be sold in events and shops. Dozens of people pass by in need of information or advice, and all enquiries get a polite response. “Do you see how many people in need we have? At the end of the day I feel very sad and helpless: all the efforts that we do are not enough. This is the reason why here we try to make them at least feel safe just like a big family.”

Learn more about what Red Cross Red Crescent volunteers do to improve access to health, promote community empowerment and ultimately contribute towards achieving Universal Health Coverage.