Jordan: Putting the Pieces Back Together

When Tuka was 29, she walked to Jordan from Syria with her two children. She had given birth just 10 days earlier. She was still suffering from a difficult delivery, bleeding and feverish.

She walked through the night to reach Zaatari camp in Jordan. She gave cough medicine to her children so they would keep quiet. She was scared of getting caught.

Her husband had fled Syria months before. Malek left because he was being targeted, and they feared his life was in danger. He wanted to find a job in Jordan so that his family would have good living conditions when they arrived. Yet Malek, an accountant, was unable to find work. With no income, the only apartment he could afford was small, dark, and cold.

A year later, Malek was granted a work permit, which enabled him as a Syrian refugee to be employed for manual or other non-professional labour only. He began selling pastries in a pastry shop for a meagre salary, but at least it was enough to afford an apartment with two rooms.

Refugee life was difficult for Tuka and Malek. They found themselves fighting all the time. They worried about their family members back in Syria, and about not being able to provide for everyone’s needs. They felt depressed, grieving the loss of their home and country and the life they thought they would live.

We had no idea that there were programmes to help people like us talk about our situation and experience,” said Tuka. “Medair was the first one to come to us and offer me a spot in one of their programmes. Back then, my relationship with Malek had become very bad. I didn’t know what to do. I was very happy that Medair gave me a chance to talk and share about the stresses and trauma I experienced.”

Malek immediately noticed a difference in Tuka. “After the first session, she looked different,” said Malek, smiling broadly.

I hadn’t expected to find people who cared about my psychological well-being. I felt my life had become a jangled puzzle, but Medair helped me put the pieces of my life back together.