As one of the stable countries in the area, Jordan has become a safe haven for many Syrians, Iraqis and Palestinians. Most of them depend on the UNHCR and NGOs for shelter, food, medical care, counselling and education. The official refugee camps are overcrowded so tens of thousands of families have found alternative shelter in informal settlements like the one I visited in Mafraq. The dry and desolate conditions felt like I was meeting people who had been cast out beyond civilization.
Other families have found accommodation in meagre rented dwellings in the cities. I met people living in damp rooms, containers, tents, a parish hall and old sheep stables. In these conditions, lack of water and sanitation is a serious problem. I wondered how people managed to find their privacy and internal peace in these makeshift rooms.
The influx of refugees has had dire consequences for the entire population, which is now confronted with an unprecedented economic crisis, an overburdening of public services, rising housing prices, and overall impoverishment.
Caritas International supports its local partner in Jordan to offer humanitarian aid to refugees and also takes into account the needs of the most vulnerable families within the local population. In addition to this crucial aid, emphasis is also placed on access to schools, which is an essential part of fostering hope for a better future.
The photos were used for the yearly fundraising campaign of Caritas International Belgium and were used worldwide by Caritas.