With the support of the European Union, through the EU Regional Trust Fund in response to the Syrian crisis, the Madad Fund, Amnena has been able to meet her basic needs
In a small apartment in Hashmi al Shamali, a poor neighbourhood of Amman, Amnena, her daughter-in-law Inshirah, and her four grandchildren have made a home since they arrived in Jordan in 2013.
Amnena was a farmer back in Homs, supporting her family through farming, but when the conflict started in Syria, she lost her husband and fled to Jordan, with her son, his wife, and children. Now, aged 59, Amnena’s health has been deteriorating in recent years; walking and moving are a challenge due to her knee problems, so she depends on medication and her family’s support.
For Inshirah, supporting her mother-in-law and four children has been a full-time occupation, especially since her husband died of cancer four years ago. The family is reliant on UNHCR cash assistance (JD 210 per month), as well as food vouchers from WFP and education assistance from UNICEF, to cover their rent, utilities, phone bills, food needs, and the expensive medication that Amnena needs regularly.
As her children are growing older, Inshirah, now 35 years old, is increasingly considering the possibility of working to provide for her family. With limited education and no previous work experience, her preference would be to find a home-based opportunity, possibly in food-processing. She recently received an offer to join a local community-based initiative to make dairy products at home. Whilst this is yet to start, Inshirah is looking forward to receiving training and building the skills that would enable her to provide for her family.
Despite her own mobility restrictions, Amnena speaks warmly about her life back in Syria, working and supporting her family. Aside from farming, she also cultivated a sewing hobby over the years, and proudly showcases the clothes she’s wearing, as her own creations. “If I could do this kind of work based at home, sitting down,” she says pointing to her knees, “I would.” Both women have had to rely on humanitarian assistance to support their family since Amnena’s son passed away but are now dreaming of one day being able to make an income.
UNHCR’s cash assistance programme is used as a core protection mechanism to target refugee families like Amnena’s and enable them to meet, at a minimum, their most basic needs in a dignified manner, by providing monthly cash assistance. With the support of the European Union, through the EU Regional Trust Fund in response to the Syrian crisis, the Madad Fund, UNHCR is working, together with ILO and UNICEF, to support refugee households to achieve self-reliance, a crucial stepping-stone to building resilience and to help families diminish their reliance on financial assistance. Thanks to the Madad fund as well as other donors, UNHCR and partners are making concerted efforts to expand refugees’ livelihoods and promote durable solutions.
Inshirah’s dream is that her children will finish high school and continue their studies in university, to be able to find jobs, make families of their own, and support themselves. “Home is where you have peace, stability, opportunities for education,” says Inshirah as she speaks about her children’s future, explaining that having found those things in Jordan, her family don’t feel like foreigners anymore.