Fleeing one’s home country is a traumatic experience. Refugees feel anger, fear, sadness and even shame. They often feel betrayed by the government or even by their own people. During their flight, injury, robbery, and separation of families are all too common. Sadly, their suffering doesn’t end there. Resettling in another country (usually not the refugee’s first choice) forces them to adapt to unwelcomed conditions and uncertain futures. Trust and interpersonal skills deteriorate, which are two necessary components in healing. The biggest trial they face is learning to live again.
Ruba is an Iraqi refugee at CRP who has keenly felt some of the same psychological and social setbacks that many refugees experience. She fled her home in Iraq for fear that DAESH (ISIS) might hurt her family. While fleeing, her son broke his leg, making the journey extremely difficult. Ruba also left her career teaching fifth grade science and her comfortable life to come to Amman, where she can’t legally work. “It’s really hard in Amman even though it is nice and beautiful. But as a refugee I am alone at home. There is no help at home. My husband is sick with heart problems,” she says. “It’s really difficult to be o.k. with life when things are like this.”
There are tremendous weights that hang on Ruba’s and other refugees’ shoulders. But our CRP staff sees growth in our beneficiaries as they participate in psychosocial and trauma-relief programming. Some refugees walk in with heads down and won’t make eye contact, but after some months we see them smiling and engaging in all sorts of energetic conversations. Ruba is one of those people.
Depression doesn’t loom over Ruba’s head because she has found new ways to live, such as coming to Women’s Art Club at CRP.
Ruba is now all smiles, even when she’s worried about how she looks, with splatters of colorful paint on her hands and black cardigan. She explains that each Sunday afternoon she eats lunch quickly so she can be in an environment that offers happiness and music.
Ruba sheds tears as she openly discusses her healing process. “Ms. Sara lets us live in a different world that doesn’t have to do with sadness or envy or fear. Just art and hope,” she explains. The bright colors on her hands are representative of the new color she has found in her life and the positive way she releases the negativity she has built up from the previous week. Finally, she feels that she can look forward to a good future.
She even carries this new attitude to her home. She laughs, saying that when she goes home, her family wants to see her artistic side, but instead they see the paint all over her shirt.
Ruba explains that CRP’s programming is unique among other NGOs operating in Amman. She believes other organizations should adopt similar programming that allow refugees to trust, heal, and rebuild their lives after trauma. Ruba appreciates all of the smiles and genuine emotional support she receives from everyone at CRP. She feels humanly connected to our community. She says, “That’s something we should all be very grateful for.”
It doesn’t take much time or even money to donate and keep CRP’s art therapy going. But it does take your help. Donate today. These sessions make a huge impact on Ruba’s and other refugees’ lives.