After finishing high school, Ahmed, a 24-year-old Jordanian spent five years working in shops around his neighborhood in Hashmi Shamali, Amman. In an area which has seen influxes of refugees over the last 50 years, echoing Jordan’s history of hospitality, from the Palestinians in the 60s and 70s, Iraqis in the 90s and early 2000s and more recently Syrian refugees, Ahmed, himself of Palestinian origin, has always felt that all deserve the same rights and kindness.
With this attitude, Ahmed was successful in landing a job as a community volunteer at Nuzha center in East Amman. But he remembers how scared he was as he began his first day of work, “humanitarian work was completely different from what I’d done before. I don’t know if I could do it, could I give what was needed?”
Slowly but surely, he got used to the job, learned new skills and developed a particular focus on supporting youth who approached the center looking for help. At Nuzha helpdesk, which UNHCR runs in collaboration with the community volunteers, Ahmed talks about how when refugees approach, often in a desperate situation, he tries as much as possible to transmit a positive energy and give them help and advice about Jordanian society.
One memory of his life at Nuzha was when he formed a band with some of the Iraqi refugees to perform at a Ramadan Iftar event they were holding for the community. But he fell, ended up breaking his shoulder and being rushed to hospital. After a few weeks recovery, when he returned to work his Iraqi friends insisted on being there to greet him, singing the songs that he had missed out on during the performance.
“When people challenge me on why we support refugees, this is the story I tell them. They are our brothers and sisters, regardless of where they come from.”