SEASON 1, EPISODE 2:
More than a shelter
See how Abdul and Farida’s family have settled into their new shelter in Za’atari refugee camp.
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Did you know that Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan, which lies near the Syrian border, was originally made up of only a small collection of tents in 2012? Since then, it has evolved into a settlement of approximately 80,000 people.
UNHCR is working with residents to continue improving the camp, to meet their needs as the conflict in Syria shows no signs of ending. Improvements include the construction of a solar power plant to provide electricity to every household.
In Za’atari, UNHCR provides caravan homes as well as tents. UNHCR aims to provide caravan homes for every family at the camp so they have the security of living in a solid building, protected from the elements. For people forced to flee their homes, it’s important to have a private space where they can lock the door and feel safe.
Your monthly support means that UNHCR can provide more families with their own safe space to turn into a home.
Farida explains how difficult it was to leave her home behind, and how she is building a new life for her family in Za’atari.
“My house in Syria had two bedrooms, a living room and a shop we opened to earn money. The house was a very good size. Outside, we had a small garden where I grew oranges, olives and almonds… the garden was special and the children had the space to play.
“We lived happily. My husband worked, my son worked and I worked in the garden. We needed nothing and never expected we’d come here or see the things we have seen. We had never thought about coming to Jordan, even for a visit. But here we are. We’ve been treated well, but it’s difficult to live away from home.
“I especially remember Ramadan, when we would have a big celebration in my home with neighbors, family, friends and children. We cherished each and every day of it and kindness prevailed among people. We would cook lots of different dishes and spread them on the dinner table. It was special. It’s different here. Everyone here is troubled. Everyone has cried. Sadness lies in every heart. Every family has lost one or two of its members. If not, they have lost their homes and become displaced.
“We lost our home when the army came. They ravaged a big part of my house with a tank then security officials seized the house, set up a checkpoint and settled in it. So we had to get out as there was no place to stay anymore. We left and came here.
“We first thought that we’d stay here for one month only and then come back to live normally. Staying here for another month was out of the question. But here we still are.
“Some of my children have lost hope of returning home. They are safe here, but they lack the joy of life. Back home, they used to play, be happy, sing and dance.”
“I want to return home, to the life we had. Our future lies there. I want my children to grow up in their country; I want to be buried there.”
“Even my youngest child Inaam (5) has become prone to depression. So we bought her a Syrian paradise bird, to remind her of home and that we will one day go back.”
7,822 tents in the camp
24,000 caravans in the camp
4.6 people — average family size
461,000 refugees have passed through the camp
Updated as of August 2017