Jordan [Syrian refugees]

A three- day hygiene promotion event in Za’atari camp


June 5th is World Environment Day. JEN took this opportunity to organize hygiene promoting events in Za’atari camp for three days. On 3rd and 4th June, 2014, JEN’s hygiene promoters carried out some activities targeting children in Districts 3, 4 and 5 in order to teach them how to practice good personal hygiene.

[ hygiene promoters wrote message about hygiene on balloons]
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Daily practice of hygienic behavior such as washing hands and face, as well as brushing teeth, does not become a habit in one day. That’s why it is important to keep diffusing hygiene messages repeatedly. JEN hygiene promoters have developed many tools to convey hygiene messages to children, for example, games, songs, quiz and dance, so as to get the children interested in the hygiene promoting activities.

[ Demonstrating how to brush teeth]
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[ Children learning about hygiene ]
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On 5th June, JEN’s hygiene promoters organized focus group meetings with adults, where several issues of waterborne diseases such as diarrhea, as well as water conservation were discussed.

[Staffs give messages to refugees]
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On the same day, for the purpose of raising awareness of environmental protection, refugees planted seeding of Sage. Za’atari camp is located in the middle of desert with almost no trees, and refugees face problems such as bad drainage and unhygienic environment with a lot of flies and mice. In order that people improve the condition of living environment with good hygiene, it is of importance that refugees themselves take action to protect and promote good environment.

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[ hygiene promoters with good team work spirits]
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【JEN is now accepting donations. Your help would be very much appreciated.

Fresh Off the Press! Za’atari Magazine gives refugees a new tool for communication


In January 2014, JEN, in partnership with UNHCR, began a new endeavor to create a monthly Arabic magazine to be distributed in Za’atari Refugee Camp.  Living in a camp that spans up to 6 square kilometers, communication between refugees living in different districts can be difficult.  The magazine, written almost entirely by Syrian refugees themselves, aims to provide a new vehicle of communication between refugees living in Za’atari refugee camp.  In addition, the magazine will serve as a tool to spread messages related to better living in the camp by UN agencies and other humanitarian organizations, through the perspective of refugees.  By including positive stories written by refugees, JEN hopes that the magazine can also highlight the creativity if refugees living in the camp and showcase their resilience.

The inaugural issue was published at the end of April 2014 and distributed to all households in the camp – approximately 20,000 – during the first two weeks of May 2014.  The first issue includes stories of refugee hygiene promoters advocating for the importance of maintaining environmental hygiene and keeping solid waste pollution to the minimum in the camp; stories from children who enjoy spending their time in sports clubs that are offered by humanitarian organizations; stories from a refugee whose child’s health was recovered through nutrition programs that are offered in the camp; and a poem from a girl who reminisces her life back in Syria and hopes to be reunited with her beloved home.

[An older girl reads one of the articles to younger girls.]
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[A father and son reading the first issue of Za’atari Magazine.]
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The magazine “Al Tarik (The Road)” was given its name to reflect on the journey refugees have made to come to Za’atari and to signify the hope for the future – that the life in the camp is just a temporary stop and there is a road ahead back to Syria.

[The “Road” in Za’atari]
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Though the articles are written by refugees, the magazine is currently coordinated and edited by Jordanian staff.  As the magazine gets good traction among refugees in Za’atari Camp, JEN plans to work with other organizations to create training opportunities in skills related to magazine development, such as journalism and graphic designing, so that, over time, the magazine can be entirely written and produced by Syrian refugees.  By doing so, the project can also create opportunities for the refugees, especially youth who makes up a large majority of the camp residents, to be involved in activities that can improve their lives at the camp.

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

First impression of Zaatari refugee camp


It has been one year and eight months since JEN started operation in Zaatari camp in September 2012. My first visit to Zaatari was in January 2013. At that time, Zaatari was still on the path to expansion. Passing through a densely tent area, there was a stretch of land with empty caravans which are ready for new arrivals. In some areas, facilities had been under construction. Chaos was my impression. Since then, I have seldom been there, so my image of Zaatari hasn’t updated.

[Za’atari refugee camp in the beginning of 2013]
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Now, one year and eight months later, Zaatari camp gives different impression.

Staff engaging in host community program and staff in Admin section visited Zaatari camp for the first time in order to understand JEN overall activities. Field staffs go to Zaatari every day. Even though they have heard and spoke about Zaatari almost every day, it is not easy for them to really understand Zaatari.

Zaatari was very different from what they imagined. It is a “town”. Not all, but most of goods can be purchased there. There are jewelry stores as well as wedding dress shops. They were impressed by peoples’ toughness that have adapted to the situation.

[Current Zaatari camp]
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From Emergency settlement to ordinary life, Zaatari is in transition. No one can describe Zaatari in one year time. But to ensure safety and favorable living environment, JEN is working on what we can do and what we should do now.

Miki Hirose (Program Officer)

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

Azraq refugee camp is about to open!


For more than a year now the preparation of a second large refugee camp in Jordan has been ongoing in Azraq.

Located on a 27km2 area Azraq camp will be much bigger than Za’atari (and its 8km2) allowing more space for each families. While Za’atari looks like a dense town, Azraq will look much more like a collection of several small villages.

[Crowded main street in Zaatari]
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The small town of Azraq already did host a refugee camp for Iraqis in the past and is not located on the border with Syria. Nevertheless Syrian refugees will still be registered in Raba Sahan like now and will be transferred for most to Azraq. Only the new arrivals having close family already in Za’atari or special cases such as severely injured refugees will be sent to Za’atari.

This new camp will so help Za’atari camp to enter in a new phase with a population much more stable, helping UN agencies, INGOs and refugees themselves to leave the constant emergency mode on which the camp lives for 2 years and enter in a mode in which consolidation and improvement of all the programs developed will be the main priority.

A more stable population should especially contribute to stabilize and re-enforce the different committees of refugees in charge of leading the population on the path of self-management and eventually self-reliance.

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

Security Incident in Za’atari Refugee Camp


Established in July 2012, Za’atari Refugee Camp will soon enter its third year of operation.  Though the security situation in the camp was volatile during the first year, close collaboration with the Jordanian police, strong camp management, and sufficient services offered by various agencies and organizations have fostered a sense of stability in the camp and the camp had not seen any major security incident in several months.

[Everyday lives at Za’atari refugee camp in April 2014]
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On Saturday, 5 April, however, an incident broke out in two districts of Za’atari refugee camp, which began from a dispute between the camp police and refugees living in the district.  The incident quickly escalated and attracted more than 3,000 refugees living in the neighboring areas to join the riot.  A few tents and caravans were burned during the riot and many people, including close to 25 police officers, were injured and one refugee died.  Causes of the riot are still under investigation.

[Pictures of smoke in the camp]
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As soon as the fight broke out, all staff working for international NGOs were reallocated to a safe space to ensure security.  Since the fight broke out at night, JEN only had 2 staff working the night shift in distribution.  Though the incident lasted one night and was limited to a few districts in the camp, all camp staff and managers were instructed to remain outside of the camp the following day to ensure safety.  By Sunday afternoon, JEN was able to mobilize 2 distribution staff to begin clothes distribution in the camp, as the bus carrying new refugees was scheduled to arrive to the camp.

The incident was limited to two newer established districts of the camp, where the majority of residents are recent arrivals to the camp and the services provided are not as comprehensive as the older parts of the camp – a reminder that everyday frustration has the potential to cause security incidents.

In a refugee camp that spans over 6 square kilometers accommodating over 100,000 refugees, differences in the availability and quality of services based on districts is unfortunate, but inevitable.  To ensure services offered match the needs of the community, JEN employs community mobilizers who regularly work with refugees to conduct hearings related to issues and needs in the community, as well as to respond to questions.

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