Back when CRP began in 2006, we helped around a dozen families per month to eat. Today, CRP supports an average of 223 families per month with food vouchers. Although we have started offering more programs aimed at improving livelihood and education of beneficiaries, helping people with basic nutritional needs remains the basis on which we build everything else.
“Not having to think about where to get food for two months gives us some room to breathe,” say Khlood and Assem, who fled northern Iraq and came to Amman two years ago. “We have a family of five to care for, with two little daughters.” With their food voucher, they stock up on the staples: oil, rice, flour, sugar, beans. Sometimes they get some chicken too.
Apart from its importance for survival, food also carries a lot of cultural meaning for refugees. Even though they share a common language, Arab countries are very diverse in terms of cultures, ethnicities, and religions. Different regions may have vastly different styles of traditional clothing, music, and food. Replicating a piece of home in their new environment, like a famous dish from their region, can reinstate a sense of belonging and community among people. At the very least, warm and tasty food makes everyone feel good.
Shawq from Baghdad likes to buy fish with her food vouchers. The amount she receives is smaller since she’s living alone in Amman, but it lasts her much longer than a family of five. CRP carefully assesses every beneficiary’s needs to allocate the resources where they’re needed most urgently, so Shawq only receives two vouchers a year. She gets by because she also receives some money from relatives back home. “I’m so happy that CRP is willing to help Iraqi refugees. You’re really one of the few organizations that do,” she says. Shawq fled to Amman on her own after several members of her family in Baghdad were kidnapped for ransom and she didn’t feel safe anymore.
Iraqi refugees often tell CRP about the horrors they faced back home, and that they feel neglected by the international community. With the war in Syria shifting out of media focus, many people in the West assume that things are looking up for refugees at large, but the opposite is true. According to UNHCR, 80% of refugees in Jordan live below the poverty line. They are mostly not allowed to work legally, which makes it extremely hard for them to make ends meet and they’re often vulnerable to exploitation.
Individual donors like you make up 85% of our budget for food vouchers. The money we raise during this campaign will determine how many people we’re able to help in the coming months! Donate now to help families like Khlood and Assam’s.