Stories of Syria's Displaced: Ahmed & Selma

Continuing our look at how refugee life in Jordan is challenging for Syria's fleeing families
Two kids

I’m still here in Kitim, Jordan, a small village in the country’s north—close to the border with Syria, the border which refugees continue to cross each and every day. Action Against Hunger is continuing its assessment of humanitarian needs here, wanting to supplement our already-running relief programs for refugees in neighboring Lebanon and Turkey.

The influx of new arrivals has led to profound changes here in Kitim. For some Jordanians, the opportunity to rent out homes and provide services to Syrian refugees is enriching their wallets. For others, though, they’re feeling the strain of competing for jobs.

But it’s the Syrians who are having the hardest time of all. I recently introduced you to Mahmoud, a Syrian who has moved to Kitim with his family. He introduced me to his brother Ahmed, his wife Selma, and one of her friends. Their small rented home, down a dusty alley in Kitim, houses four adults and seven children.

Hard times for a husband and wife

Selma wanted to tell me about what it was like to move from her Syrian home in Daraa to Za’atari in Jordan, which now surpasses Dadaab, Kenya as the world’s largest refugee camp. The sense of deprivation and humiliation, she said, was overwhelming. The living conditions were precarious. Her kids got sick, and without sufficient medical care to be found, the family fled to Kitim, where relatives had already moved.

Three of Selma’s children are severely hearing impaired, and their hearing aids have broken since they’ve moved from Syria. Her greatest wish is to get the devices fixed, but they simply don’t have the money.

"Here, it’s not easy to work,” her husband Ahmed explained. “Syrians often earn less than Jordanians for the same jobs. Same goes for rent. The last tenant, a Jordanian, paid 80 Jordanian dinar for the house. We paid 150.”

How Action Against Hunger is helping

Action Against Hunger is helping tens of thousands of Syrian refugees in nearby Lebanon and Turkey. Our teams are currently assessing needs in neighboring Jordan, gauging a range of factors—from economic and health conditions, to psychological to social needs—among this rapidly growing body of refugees before determining where and how to provide needed services.

The number of Syrian refugees just surpassed a staggering two million. More than a million of those have poured into Jordan, and many more are on the way. The humanitarian community is hard at work helping to build safe, secure futures for both host populations and refugees—people just like Ahmed, Selma, and their children.

Learn more about this inspiring family

Next time, I’ll introduce you to more members of this extended family: Ahmed’s cousin Samer, his wife Mouna, and their children Basel, Nuria, and Salim. All are refugees, and Basel and Nuria’s struggles with autism compound the family’s challenges. Through these stories, I hope you’ll come to realize that Syria’s more than two million refugees aren’t nameless, faceless statistics. They’re mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers—families just like yours—and they need your help. 

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About Florian Seriex

Florian is a regional communication officer reporting from our program and assessment sites in the Middle-East.   

Tags: Syria