ACTNews, AMMAN – Remembering Jordan, one can easily imagine a country where everything screams prosperity. Jordan, a country ruled under monarchy, that has upward Human Development Index (HDI). In other words, this country is rich, capable of more than just feeding and housing its citizens. At a glance, Jordan is comparable to other rich Middle East countries: Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
In fact, that’s how Jordan rolls today. Jordan Dinar is on stable position, compared to other Middle East countries. About 7,5 million Jordanians enjoy rapid economic circulation, with free market system that everyone embraces.
However, these fascinating economy facts and Jordanians’ prosperity never make any sense to refugees who knock on Jordan’s door, its border gates. Millions of refugees come to Jordan with hope of a better future. Jordan opens its door for refugees, giving them temporary to permanent shelters.
Just look at the map of Middle East. Jordan is on the center of a ring of conflicted countries.
To the west, Jordan neighbors Palestine and Israel. To the north, Jordan borders the bloody Syria. Finally, to the east, Jordan meets Iraq.
For pilgrims who wish to enter Al-Aqsa compound, the most plausible and safe way to do it is by transiting in Amman, Jordan. From Amman, they can take land travel to Jerusalem, located about 217 kilometers or no more than five hours of travel.
Jordan, home of Palestinian and Syrian refugees
Jordan isn’t new in giving shelter to refugees. For more than three decades, Jordan has been one of the biggest asylum countries. Three decades ago, many Palestinians moved to Jordan with hope of a better future. They considered it as the most realistic option than holding on to their homeland, where Israeli Zionists continuously persecuted, colonized, and claimed their home as the Promised Land.
Now, more than thirty years later, thousands of Palestinian families still remain amidst Jordan’s hustle and bustle. They race for better job opportunities with seven million Jordanians.
Palestinian’s problem is far from solved, and another conflict broke, bloody and brutal: Syrian Civil War.
To Jordan’s north, borderline with Syria stretches for thousand kilometers. No wonder that Jordan, once again, became a target country for asylum seekers who fled missiles and bullets in Syria.
In July 2012, in order to accommodate the booming number of Syrian refugees, Jordan opened Zaatari Refugee Camp. The complex is a grand asylum in the northern Jordan, not far from Jordan-Syrian border. Zaatari Camp has become a permanent shelter for thousand Syrian refugees ever since.
Tents line up in the middle of roomy fields, barren and dry. In these hot and stale tents, refugees spend their days. As days passed, the number of Syrian refugees inhabiting this camp skyrocket. By the end of 2015, 79.900 Syrians lived in Zaatari Camp. To this day, it is predicted the number of refugees could reach 90.000 people.
Visiting Syrian refugees in Jordan with qurbani
That’s how reality works in Jordan. Even though its economic growth is stable and even mobilizing upward, in the dark corners of Jordan, there are hundred thousands of refugees, unsure of their foggy future.
Refugees and Jordanian citizens live side by side. They do share job opportunities to make a living despite their status as war refugees. Even in Amman, Jordan’s buzzling capital, refugees from Syria and Palestinians flock.
From Jakarta to Jordan, Global Qurban correspond with local partners in Amman. Retelling the tales of qurbani moments last year, Insha Allah, this year Global Qurban will visit houses and refugee camps in Amman and those who live along the northern border Jordan and Syria.
Last year in Amman, Global Qurban bumped into Um Abdo, middle-aged mother in Amman. Um Abdo (mother of Abdo) used to live in Homs, Syria. But conflict broke in Syria and everything she had disappeared in one night. From Homs, she escaped to Beirut, Lebanon, with her four children. Then Lebanon softly repelled Um Abdo and other thousand refugees. Finally, Um Abdo arrived in Zaatari Camp, Jordan.
“My brother came to bring me out from Zaatari Camp and live in Amman. We rent a house. I sold my last heirloom, my wedding ring, to rent the house. Living here isn’t easy as refugee,” she said.
Um Abdo’s story was quite different from Sorour, mother of five, who Global Qurban team met in Amman. This 32-year-old came from Homs, Syria, too. However, in 2012, Sorour with his husband and five children fled her country by using smuggler. The smuggler brought her into Jordan as war refugee.
“Now I have two sons and two daughters, and I’m pregnant with my fifth child. My home in Homs was still more comfortable than being refugee in Amman. Here, my husband couldn’t work due to the difficulty to obtain a work permit. But what can we do? It’s almost impossible to return to Homs, since the work hasn’t stopped yet,” said Sorour.
Two resilient women, Um Abdo and Sorour, are just small examples of refugees’ suffering in Amman, Jordan. Last year, Global Qurban came a long way from Indonesia. Insha Allah, this year, the same qurban tale with repeat in Jordan. Global Qurban will knock the doors of Syrian and Palestinian refugees, bringing tasty qurbani meat from Indonesia.