Jordan [Syrian refugees]

An encounter with a family in Zaatari camp


The other day, I had an opportunity to visit a family in Zaatari camp as part of our assistance for vulnerable households. The family consists of an elderly couple and their four daughters. The father has physical disability and suffers from mental stress so that he is not able to work and earn income. The four daughters are all grown up but one girl’s legs are paralyzed and cannot walk on her own. [Zaatari street]

20180118_JD_02_street 220180118_JD_01_street 1
When I visited them and began our conversation, at first the family members seemed a bit nervous and were not very talkative. But at some turn of the conversation, I found that the paralyzed girl does knitting as a hobby. The young lady refused shyly with a small smile at our requests to show her pieces, but after several attempts from our side, she brought out her work. And to our surprise, her work was beautiful!

[Zaatari blanket]

 “Wow! Such beautiful colors. I can’t believe this is all handmade!” I was simply astonished and impressed by the quality of her knitting, and gradually the atmosphere in the house became more friendly and relaxed. Gaining some confidence, she showed some pictures she painted as well. The next moment I realized the other three sisters and the mother were smiling with pride.

This family is not able to lead an economically satisfying life. The camp is not a friendly place for a lady with disability to live in. But despite this, I believe it means a lot that she has something she likes doing, and does it well too, and by doing that makes her and her family happy.

JEN will continue to assist those people going through hardships, and seeking for a better life.

[Zaatari staff meeting]



JEN will be there for the most vulnerable households to keep providing the support they need.

【JEN is now accepting donations. Your help would be very much appreciated. DONATE here


Handmade Mattress and cushion covers


One of JEN’s activities in Za’atari camp is to establish Women Community Support Groups to encourage women in vulnerable family to support their family and another vulnerable family.

During September to November, women participated in the activity created beautiful mattress and cushion covers, total 477 sets (one mattress cover and two cushion covers). In November, the participants gave the mattress and cushion covers for more vulnerable families as a gift.  We JEN support the purchasing of materials and facilitate the activity, but try to leave the activity to the voluntarism of participants.

We have received many feedbacks from both of the participants and the vulnerable families which received items..

Let’s start from comments of participants.

Um Nadim , a mother of 3 children said this was the first time to join volunteer group and to help other families and she wanted to join the next activity.

Huda works with other NGO, but participated in our activity during a break. She said, “I feel that I have become a strong and productive woman when I helped vulnerable families in my community.”

Um Shakeb said, “I used my sewing machine to make mattress and cushion covers at my home. It was tiring, but the joy that I felt during the distribution made me forget everything.”

Aisha (61), widow, lives alone and has physical disability. She was surprised when the participants brought the covers and she  cried.

Hanan (30), widow mother with 5 children, said this helped her to save around 30 JD especially as she can’t work outside, leaving her children at home

We believe that we will understand the meaning of the life by supporting someone in our community even if it is very small thing.

JEN Livelihood Team
Ibtihal Harahsha

 [Tattered mattress cover. In the camp, this is used for bed.]
[Cutting fabrics with chatting]
 [Sewing fabrics. Participants are teaching each other.]
 [Participants are giving covers to the elderly woman and helping to put the cover on.]


JEN will be there for the most vulnerable households to keep providing the support they need.

【JEN is now accepting donations. Your help would be very much appreciated. DONATE here

The Challenges & Improvements in Za’atari Camp


My name is Ali Al-Jadooa; currently I am the Admin/Support Manager in JEN(Japan Emergency NGO), and I joined JEN in February 2013 as a community mobilization manager; at that time JEN was involved in hygiene promotion and clothes distribution to the refugees in Za’atari camp.

 (Hygiene session with the community)                          

(Cloth distribution to the refugees in 2013)

Za’atari camp opened in July 2012 after the crises started in Syria and it’s located in Jordan, 13 km from Syrian border; the camp was named Za’atari camp as the location of that land was in Za’atari village. The size of the camp is 6 km2. During that time, Syrian people had to leave their houses forcedly without any luggage while they sought for any safe zone. By the end, they reached to the Jordan border and arrived to Zaatari camp with the help of the Jordanian army.

 (Zaatari Camp in 2013)              

 (Public water tank installation in Zaatari camp)

Due to unexpected continuous entering of large numbers of refugees on a daily basis, the logistics services of NGOs easily went over the capacity, and as a result, the refugees were frustrated and angry.   On the other side, the NGO staff also faced many challenges starting from welcoming the refugees from their arrival till they settled in the place that they can live with dignity.

The settlement process included having each family (5 members +/-) get registered after arrival in UNHCR registration area that was located at the entrance of the camp, then receiving such as tent plus mattresses, and finally being escorted by the community mobilizers to the places that were arranged for each family. Water plus food must be delivered in a daily basis plus other important relief items such nonfood items to keep those refugees surviving and other cares like medical attention, looking after elderlies, disabled and babies were vital as well.

On average, 100 – 200 refugees entered the camp per day, but in some days the number reached 3,000 per day. It can be imaginable the big challenging of NGOs to do their job in best image.
I’d like to bring to light the challenges of humanitarian actors like JEN and the difficulties they faced when the Syrian refugees started to enter Za’atari camp and their settlement plus many improvements happened to the camp during the last 5 years to convert this empty land to almost a town up to standard.

I’d like to appreciate and thank all humanitarian staff that they were involved and faced all challenges to keep the refugees living with dignity.

 (Water and Waste Water Network constructions)     


JEN will be there for the most vulnerable households to keep providing the support they need.

【JEN is now accepting donations. Your help would be very much appreciated. DONATE here

Animals in the Camp


Human are not the only one that operate and maintain the Zaatari Refugee Camp.
For example, this cat welcomes JEN staff every morning and notifies the start of work.
20170907_JD_catFor example, this dog reminds us that sometimes we need a time off.
20170907_JD_dogFor example, this donkey teaches us that the human race cannot live alone.
20170907_JD_donkeyThe animals in the Camp cheer us up, sometimes by providing emotional support to Syrian refugees and support staff, and sometimes by working harder than anybody in the Camp.


JEN will be there for the most vulnerable households to keep providing the support they need.

【JEN is now accepting donations. Your help would be very much appreciated. DONATE here


Improving living conditions


It’s only mid-August but already it’s 40 degrees celsius at Za‘atari refugee camp.

This year, JEN started providing support to improve the well-being of the most vulnerable families at Za‘atari camp.

A 3 meter x 5 meter container, “caravan” is provided to a family of 6.

The caravan is not large enough to live in, so many families add extra rooms onto the caravan, to create a kitchen and bathroom.

To use the space next to the caravan they lay cement as the ground is rocky and uneven.

However, it is difficult for many families especially those in need of nursing care, single parent families, families with many children and wheelchair users to earn the money needed to improve their living conditions. So some families live on an uneven dirt floor.

So, JEN helped 8 families improve their living conditions, if only by a little, by making cement floors for them.

Please have a look at photos of the work.

[JEN’s team happily carrying the building materials]

[Inside a house with corrugated iron walls. Blanket is mat directly over dirt floor as you can see in this photo]

[Mixing the cement]

[Quickly spreading the cement evenly over the dirt floor]


[The work is completed in one day!]

JEN will be there for the most vulnerable households to keep providing the support they need.

【JEN is now accepting donations. Your help would be very much appreciated. DONATE here

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