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A Home is More Than Bricks


alex chapman

Tiny blue chairs and a crowded fish tank line the green walls of the sandstone building. The roof shakes slightly as shouts and stomps come from the second story.

What looks like just another shopfront in East Amman is actually a safe haven for over 4000 refugee families.

Collateral Repair Project (CRP) is a non-government organisation that has offered support for Syrian, Iraqi and Sudanese refugees since 2006.

“We have very close ties to our community,” says Judy Oldfield-Wilson, a Director at CRP. “One of our greatest strengths is being very close to the beneficiaries that we serve.”

Three women are using laptops in a kitchen that’s been converted into an office and stairs lead to an activity room where a dozen men are participating in an exercise class.

This class is one of many that CRP organise to alleviate some of the struggles of being a refugee in Amman.

“It’s important to remember that they are still bringing the trauma of flight with them,” Judy passionately explains.

“We’ve found basic things like yoga, art therapy, a men’s support group to be highly effective in helping adults work through trauma.”

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, there are over 655,000 registered refugees living in Jordan.

Among these is Abu Qais, who was a lawyer in Syria before his house was bombed four years ago with his 12-year-old daughter asleep inside.

With his unconscious daughter in his arms, he fled for the Jordanian border, where his daughter immediately received medical attention.

With assistance from CRP, Abu Qais was able to settle in Amman and get his daughter back to school.

The pair now frequently volunteer at CRP, passing on their experiences to help others in the same situation cope with the trauma of leaving their lives behind.