Address the mental health needs of those living in the Za’atari refugee camp through the establishment of the Peace Oasis Community Center. To meet the immediate needs of those affected by the Syrian conflict by providing clothing, shelter, and hygiene kits.
The situation in Syria is exceedingly complex. There are now nearly 4 million displaced Syrians due to the ongoing civil war. In response to the staggering number of Syrians fleeing the violence, Za’atari refugee camp was opened in northern Jordan in 2012. The camp is now considered Jordan’s fifth largest city, with a population of over 83,000.
Since its establishment, the Jordanian government has struggled to meet the needs of the many refugees it accepts. Access to potable water, medical care, and education are three major areas of concern. The primitive conditions in the camp, along with trauma caused by the conflict, has created an environment of frustration and hopelessness. The situation is made worse by the fact that the the camp is fenced off and monitored by soldiers who limit the refugees’ movements.
Families that flee to Za’atari come with very little. Those living in the camp have the bare minimum of household items, if any at all. Employment opportunities are extremely limited, and many families have become indebted trying to meet their most basic needs.
Along with our partner organization, The Lutheran World Federation, we founded The Peace Oasis Community Center. The center offers children a safe and engaging space to spend their time and is managed by Syrian volunteers, who themselves reside in the camp. Trained staff teach peaceful conflict resolution strategies and use art and play therapy, sports, and music to help Syrian youth process their trauma.
In 2012, we provided emergency housing to 35 vulnerable families with small children, elderly members, or members with physical or mental health issues. In 2013, we provided clothing and shoes to over 24,000 Syrian refugees in Za’atari to protect them against the harsh winter and summer weather.
In 2014, we worked to address sanitation and hygiene needs within the camp. We distributed hygiene kits that included basic items like hand and dishwashing soap, along with dental and feminine hygiene products. Through the distribution of these kits, we worked to reduce the spread of disease and illnesses and helped maintain the dignity of those living within the camp.
Our aid and work in the region changes regularly, depending on the current needs of the people in the camps.