Jordan is well-known as a host country for nearly 1.8 million Syrian refugees. What is less well-known is the additional 751,275 non-Syrian refugees living in Jordan. These so called “minority refugees,” hail from Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, and Somalia and have been excluded from international advocacy efforts and almost all in- country aid networks.
Seeing a huge need in the community, VHI has decided to launch a program in Jordan targeting Yemeni, Sudanese, and Somali refugees. We want to implement a program focusing specifically on their needs, transferring our institutional experience working with Yemenis to the critically underserved Yemeni community here in Jordan—a population estimated between 50,000 - 100,000—as well as the Sudanese and Somali communities who face strong racial discrimination in addition to economic and legal exclusion.
We plan to work closely with community leaders and youth to create grass-roots program by the community, for the community. Through consultations with refugee groups and review of existing literature, we have designed our program to cover the following domains:
- WHAT: Establishing a Hope Kindergarten, providing educational support for children in government schools, and helping enroll children who have been unable to do so.
- WHY: Although all school-aged children are supposed to have access to public schools in Jordan, the reality is far different, with discrimination and overcrowding causing many refugee students— especially non-Syrians—to be turned away.
II. Youth Empowerment:
- WHAT: Implementing the VHI life skills and peace building training from Yemen and Tunisia, including a Training of Trainers program
- WHY: A huge portion of the target communities are youth, most of them unemployed, with few prospects for advancement or education. Youth programming that promotes positive life habits is vital to prevent negative coping methods and strengthen the community
III. Psychological Support:
- WHAT: Training community members in basic psychological support and intervention with the oversight of a trained trauma therapist to allow them to provide counseling and trauma relief activities
- WHY: Many members of these communities have fled war and violence and face extreme pressure in Jordan to acquire the basic necessities and combat daily discrimination. There are high levels of trauma and depression with little access to professional support.
IV. Women's Empowerment:
- WHAT: A graduated program for women offering literacy, life skills, and empowerment classes
- WHY: There are many community members, especially women, who are illiterate. Teaching women to read and write and then providing training on life skills, child-rearing, and female empowerment will help women find their voice and strengthen their communities.