It’s been almost a year since the Coronavirus turned into a global pandemic. The Jordanian government imposed a total lockdown on March 17, 2020, and declared a state of emergency two days later. As the whole world is still struggling to adjust to the pandemic, refugees in Jordan face significant financial, mental and, social difficulties, more than they did before COVID-19.
The entire world is at a standstill, as the vaccine program begins in many countries worldwide, including Jordan, which became one of the world’s first countries to start vaccinating refugees.
At Collateral Repair Project (CRP), we strive to empower refugee communities in many different ways, and the pandemic has, after all, taught us new ways to engage in activities that strengthen the minds and bodies of our community members. Our two community centers in Amman are still closed to prevent the spread of Coronavirus, and so our programs have been delivered online since the lockdown. We did reopen one of our centers in August last year, but this was closed again as COVID-19 cases began to rise again rapidly.
One program that has successfully been running online during the pandemic is our English language program. Learning to speak English increases refugees’ chances of finding employment in the future, and it also allows them to connect with people all over the world. For some of our more advanced English students, we also offer an eLearning language exchange program, which encourages our members to practice and use the vocabulary they’ve learned with native English speakers over Skype. This online connection is essential now more than ever, where people feel disconnected and alone.
Men’s and Women’s Yoga classes also take place online, which began in March last year. Even though it doesn’t give our community members the same shared feeling of togetherness, it is a great way to escape the anxiety, stress, and fear that many refugees deal with daily. Being socially isolated amidst a global pandemic has undoubtedly affected many refugees’ already existing trauma. Some of our members explain how they have invited family members to join their yoga classes and stress how yoga has a huge, positive influence on their mental health while also being a great distraction from the pandemic.
Besides English and yoga classes, CRP has been able to deliver 67 different programs online, including our Daycare successfully, After School Club, Preschool, and a variety of programs such as SuperGirls, calligraphy, drawing and painting sessions, kickboxing, Medical Days, Personal Finance, Trauma Awareness, and the Women’s Empowerment program.
2020 has undoubtedly been a challenge, and the UN has reported that violence against women has increased, calling it the Shadow Pandemic.
“Across the world, women are facing increased domestic violence, unpaid care duties, unemployment, and poverty. Despite women making up a majority of front-line workers, there is a disproportionate and inadequate representation of women in national and global COVID-19 policy spaces.”
– unwomen.org, November 10, 2020
CRP offers both a Women’s Empowerment program and a Gender-Based Violence (GBV) program. The classes allow our members a chance to discuss any topic in a safe environment. The cases are varied and promote open dialogue. Our programs aim to raise awareness and understand the issues that affect families while promoting an end to violence against women.
There is no doubt that the pandemic has turned the world upside down, but we remain hopeful and proud of what members of our community have accomplished in these strange times. We’re looking forward to continuing our many online programs this year, which we believe will be a glimpse of light, hope, and strength in a time that might seem dark and hopeless.
Please take a look at our 2020 video flashback, and thank you for being a part of the success.
Terese Lindegaard, Marketing & Communications Team
Collateral Repair Project, 2021