Abeer Khreisha, a Jordanian volunteer living in Madaba, has been named as this year’s UNHCR Nansen Award Winner for the Middle East.
Otherwise known as the ‘Mother of Syrians, Ms. Khreisha has spent over 20 years passionately working to improve the lives of refugees living in Madaba. In particular, over the last nine years with the influx of Syrian refugees to Jordan, she has devoted the majority of her time and energy to helping the most vulnerable.
As a volunteer at the Princess Basma Community Centre in Madaba, supported by UNHCR and the Jordanian Hashemite Fund for Human Development (JOHUD), Abeer is a true example of the hospitality that Jordan has shown to refugees. From organizing activities for refugee children at the community centre to supporting refugee women to setup their own businesses, she has continually gone above and beyond what is expected from volunteers.
There are currently more than 13,000 registered Syrian refugees living in Madaba out of a total population of around 80,000. The Government of Jordan has expended significant efforts and resources in hosting the 660,000 registered Syrian refugees living across the country, but the solidarity shown by Jordanians such as Abeer also plays a vital role.
UNHCR’s Nansen Award is an annual accolade that celebrates those who have gone to extraordinary lengths to support refugees and asylum seekers, stateless persons, and the internally displaced. These are the everyday heroes going to extraordinary lengths to help forcibly displaced people in great need. It is named in honor of Norwegian explorer and humanitarian Fridtjof Nansen, the first High Commissioner for Refugees appointed by the League of Nations in 1921.
Together with the Embassies of Switzerland and Norway in Jordan, UNHCR is honored to celebrate the achievements and inspirational work of Abeer Khreisha.