One of our most unique programs is Diwaniya, a support group for men that meets once a
CRP is one of only a few NGOs in Jordan that provide psychological support
specifically geared toward adult male refugees, many of whom are struggling to provide for
their families in a place where they are not permitted to work.
Men sometimes feel societal pressure to suppress their emotions. But at Diwaniya meetings, participants are encouraged to be honest and vulnerable while discussing their feelings and problems.
Ghassan, a Syrian refugee, is a member of Diwaniya.
How did you end up at CRP?
My wife used to attend programs here before me. We registered for Emergency Assistance and then I found out that CRP has many programs. It’s like a beehive and that makes me very happy because I’m unemployed. I was a teacher in Syria, but here I couldn’t get a job. I am over 60 years old now.
Could you tell us more about Diwaniya? Why did you join the program?
I saw one of my friends at CRP and I asked them what they were doing here. They said they were in Diwaniya and then I asked them about it. They told me there was a session going on right then.
I sat down at the meeting and realized that the discussions are really lovely. The subjects they discussed were philosophical, psychological, and social. I love these types of topics! So I joined the group and started attending regularly.
Do you discuss feelings in these sessions?
Yes. The subject is always “I” in these sessions. We never speak about others. Each person talks about themselves. How was I supposed to be? How would I like to be? What things stop me from being myself? What do I aspire to be?
The subjects are very philosophical and sometimes complicated. The instructor wants to train us to think deeply about these issues.
Do you think it’s important for men to have a space for just men where they can be vulnerable? Why?
Of course it’s important!
There is one other place that offers something similar, but CRP’s programs are advanced because they provide instructors that are specialized in these areas. I also used to attend a program at the CVT (Center for Victims of Torture) and they dive deeply into your soul. I really cried a lot while I was there.
At CVT, a person doesn’t only speak about how they feel, but about what happened to them. Losing members of your family, your house, your farm, your shops, and your job that you’ve had for 34 years with no compensation. Syria became full of monsters. The instructors at CVT were specialists and they knew exactly how to reach places in you that are hard to talk about.
A person has to talk about what’s going on inside them. If there’s something that’s bothering you so much and you bottle it up inside—it will explode.
As a man, do you think there’s extra pressure on men to keep their feelings inside and to always pretend they’re okay, even when they’re not?
Of course. For us, one of the most difficult things to see is a man’s tears. These tears don’t come out unless tragedies take everything a man has by force. These tragedies don’t even give this man a chance to store anything in his brain.
But when a man vents he will feel more rested. Having a friend or a group of friends who speak together about it really helps. When there’s a space with many people speaking, it can help make a person feel less pressure.
When people talk about their experiences, you’ll also start seeing how maybe others have it worse than you do. I lost a few members of my family, but a friend of mine lost more members of their family than I did. Each person faces tragedies that could be worse than another persons, but each person gets affected by their own tragedy in their own way.
When a human speaks about their feelings, and feels someone else reacts to his story and sees the tears fill their eyes—-you feel that there is still good in this world.
Did you make many new friendships at Diwaniya?
Yes! Of course! The circle got bigger. I have so many friends at CRP now. When I first used to come here, I didn’t know anyone and no one knew me. But now when I come here, everyone says hello! You feel like you’re surrounded with people.
So you feel they’re like your family?
Of course. In my religion, there’s a saying that goes “your smiling in your brother’s face is charity.” This teaches us to smile and to laugh. When someone says good morning to you and smiles in your face, you feel relaxed and you feel rested. I made many friends, from both genders, and even just a nod from someone really means a lot to me.
What changes in yourself have you noticed since joining Diwaniyeh (Men’s Group) ?
I’m happier knowing that I have a routine and a specific schedule to do things. I was used to that back home. Having so much free time in Jordan annoyed me. When I have something to do, like attending these programs, it makes me feel like I still exist!
Emotionally and psychologically; I feel more rested.
If I ever feel bad, I always come and tell my friends that I feel upset, and they always give me advice and tell me something that helps me feel better. There is a verse from a Syrian poem that says: “Wa lammat al alaam minna shamlana”, meaning that the pain and hurt united us.