The ways families choose to raise their children varies from one to the next, but what if your family is unconventional? Kids growing up in Jordan might take access to education for granted or expect their homes to be warm during the cold winter months, but for children of families living in the poor neighborhoods of Amman, these two things are luxuries. Ebtisam and Khaleeda tell the story of how they found hope in the midst of their struggles.
Ebtisam has four kids between the ages of 6 and 13. They are Jordanian and came to CRP because of the hardships brought onto them from unemployment. In Jordan, the minimum wage is JD220 (USD $310.30) which, combined with a high cost of living, puts considerable strain on poorer Jordanian families. Ebtisam says that this pressure translates to a tense household and that her husband has taken out his frustrations on the family. Ebtisam explains, “Iraqis and Syrians have a war in their countries, but in Jordan there is psychological war on poor families.”
Ebtisam worried about her kids’ futures. One of her daughters had been in school for 7 years and still was unable to read. Living in a sheltered community meant that Ebtisam’s children were afraid of the diversity brought by refugees. Ebtisam recalls, “If my children saw someone new or met someone from a different country, they would say to me ‘we can’t play with them.’”
Khaleeda recalls a similar experience, but coming from Iraq, has the added stress of trying to help her kids cope with trauma. Khaleeda lives with her six children, four of whom benefit from the programs offered at CRP. Talking about her life before coming to the center, Khaleeda says “My kids were lonely and had no place to play in the house. I didn’t feel safe letting them just play in the street, so they had to stay inside. But I knew this was hard for them.”
When these women started bringing their children to CRP, they saw marked improvement in their well-being and capabilities. “These programs have made me less stressed about my kids’ futures, and I am happy knowing they are getting an education.,” Ebtisam says. She explains that her youngest daughter used to be introverted and shy, but since joining CRP, Ebtisam has watched her personality flourish with new volunteer opportunities and community involvement. Her kids no longer fear the unknown and play with kids from all different kinds of backgrounds.
Khaleeda now gets the relief of finding a supportive community. “Now, I get to watch my kids succeed. They performed on stage for us on Mother’s Day and I was so happy to see them trying new things and taking on new challenges. I am so happy with CRP, I cannot say it enough.”
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