We often highlight our psychosocial support programming. It’s important to do so. Life as a refugee in Jordan is full of uncertainty, as families attempt to navigate the labyrinthine resettlement process, mitigate the disruption to their children’s lives, feed their families, and pay rent in a place where most of them cannot legally work. Psychosocial programming provides an outlet for stress and anxiety, teaches coping skills, and gives refugees an opportunity to get out of their house and meet new people in the community. But it’s impossible to fully engage in CRP’s programs if your basic needs are not being met. This is why the Emergency Assistance Program remains the bedrock of CRP’s work.
Every month, CRP distributes food vouchers. Over the course of the year, CRP also distributes other forms of assistance including fuel vouchers, blankets, fans, hygiene products, and school supplies. There are about 100 families who receive food vouchers consistently every month; these are the most vulnerable families in our community. CRP has about 3,000 families registered for the food voucher program; we try to reach as many of these families each month as possible and most of these families will receive a food voucher every few months. So far this month, we have distributed food vouchers to over 700 families.
“The distributions are important for the refugees,” Abu Essam says. “It is hard for them to get these things, so CRP provides them. They don’t have money to buy these things and the government won’t let them work.” Abu Essam, one of CRP’s volunteers, is a refugee from Syria.
Eligibility for the Emergency Assistance Program is based on need, not nationality; Jordanians in need are also eligible. To assess needs, CRP staff and volunteers conduct phone interviews, which are followed up by home visits for the families who are assessed as being most in need. When possible, CRP cross-references the family’s information to determine whether they are receiving aid from other organizations. Based on the information gathered through these interviews, the staff determines what level of assistance CRP can provide to the family.
“We just have so many families and there’s still a backlog of trying to reach people, there are so many people in need.”
“We have a criteria to assess the people who are in need,” Zayneb Al Asaadi, Director of Staff Development and Grants Partnerships, says.
“When we go to the houses, we see the conditions of the house and whether they have the essential needs for the home,” says Abu Qais, a Syrian refugee who is a longtime volunteer at CRP.
One of the biggest challenges of the food voucher distributions is that CRP is unable to reach everyone in the community who is in need. “We just have so many families and there’s still a backlog of trying to reach people, there are so many people in need,” Al Asaadi says.
Reaching as many people as possible can be a logistical challenge for the center as well, as our small staff determines who will receive distributions, makes calls to contact the families, and assembles the vouchers. “If we have a distribution for 200 families, it’s a challenge for our staff and for our center,” Al Asaadi says. However, she emphasizes that, “Our staff is quite willing to do the big distributions because they want to reach all the people they can.”
In order to reach the most vulnerable families, CRP has recently expanded its program to serve Sudanese refugees in the Ashrafieh and Jofeh neighborhoods. Sudanese refugees are among the most underserved refugee populations in Jordan.
These distributions are only possible because of the support and generosity of our donors, especially Partners in Repair, our monthly donors. They allow us to provide assistance to families who otherwise might not be able to put a meal, much less a balanced meal, on the table every day for their families.