Vital support from the Jordan Red Crescent Society brings stability to families affected by the crisis in Syria

Published: 2 December 2014 9:24 CET

Four stories above a noisy, busy highway in Abu Alanda, Amman, Makiea Abulkarim Al Masri has made her home. But this is no ordinary home, and no ordinary woman. Visitors to this small apartment are likely to be met with the commotion of 10 small children eager to make friends, make conversation, and play.

Makiea’s home sometimes feels like a playground but the children are just the loudest residents. “There are 11 children in total here,” she said. “They are the children of my two sons and their wives who also live here. I always have a headache.”

The family has been in Jordan for two years, having left Daraa in South-West Syria near the beginning of the conflict. Makiea fled originally with just her eldest grandchild, but over the years, many of the family have taken the same journey in the hope of finding peace.

One of her sons has been injured during the fighting and is still in Syria, the other – with his wife and children, including a baby who was one-month-old when they left – is the most recent arrival. The journey took them three months and they were stuck at the border for one month.

Makiea said the circumstances in the area and the busy road mean the children must stay and play in the apartment all day. “The toys that you see around the house have been found on the streets, or in the bins of other families,” she said. “We managed to take them out and clean them for the children.”

And while the children are stuck inside all the time, Makiea’s health problems – including back problems requiring constant medication – also means she is unable to go outside, as the steep stairs are too difficult to negotiate.

The family receives funds through the Jordan Red Crescent Society’s innovative Cash Transfer Programme, which contributes towards the rent and cost of utilities in the apartment. The programme, operated with the support of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, provides between 50-120JD per month.

Since March 2013, the programme has provided monthly cash support to 3,000 Syrian families, and the majority of these have been supported for at least 12 months. For Makiea and the 11 children she looks after, this lifeline provides a degree of stability and comfort as they prepare and dream of returning home to Syria.

The project terminates in December 2014 if no more funds become available.