- Tricia Saur
On April 1, 2017, Hope Beyond Displacement was announced as the 2017-2019 Target Project at FAWCO Biennial Conference in Mumbai, India. In this issue of Let’s Get Schooled, Amanda Lane, Executive Director of Collateral Repair Project introduces her organization to FAWCO members and shares the important educational impact Hope Beyond Displacement will have on the lives of refugee women and girls in Jordan.
Hope Beyond Displacement
Collateral Repair Project (CRP) is thrilled to be the 2017-2019 FAWCO Target Project grant recipient! FAWCO’s focus on Educating and Empowering Women and Girls is a natural fit for our organization. The call for proposals immediately appealed to us as we are on the front lines in responding to the current international refugee crisis and are acutely aware of how women’s and girls’ education and development have greatly suffered as a result of the dislocation their families have undergone.
Our Family Resource and Community Center is a haven where refugee families can access programs that help them learn, re-build the communities they’ve lost due to war and conflict, and heal from trauma. Since 2006, CRP has been operating in Amman, Jordan’s Hashemi Shamali neighborhood, an area where refugees end up because rents are cheaper. With over 80% of Syrian refugees living in Jordan’s urban areas and the vast majority of Jordan’s poor Iraqi refugees living in Hashemi, ensuring that urban refugees receive the critical assistance they need is crucial. CRP’s long experience providing basic needs assistance items (food, basic household items, heaters, etc.) through our Emergency Assistance Program and working closely with East Amman’s urban refugees through our community center programs to address their needs has made CRP a backbone of the refugee community in Hashemi Shamali.
Here in Jordan, the primary reality affecting refugees’ lives is the fact that they are largely forbidden to work. As a result, families are unable to take care of their basic needs—such as putting food on the table and purchasing books and school supplies so their children can attend school. CRP helps relieve the stress families are under due to lack of income, so our first point of contact with families is through providing them with emergency assistance.
Next, we offer opportunities for them to grow and learn through our varied community center offerings. As a result, our community center is at the epicenter of a vibrant refugee community where individuals actively develop their skills and are empowered to lead activities (all our center activities are volunteer led). We are continually amazed by their enthusiasm and the transformations we’ve witnessed among people who we often saw for the first time at our door wracked with trauma and desperately searching for assistance. As Muneera, one of the women who regularly comes to our activities says, “For so long, I lacked self-confidence. Coming to CRP, meeting people and taking part in activities like women’s leadership activities has given me a confidence I never had—and I’m so much more comfortable one-on-one with others now!”
CRP is always looking for ways to help our community increase their personal well-being and strengthen their family and interpersonal bonds. We are thrilled that a vital community has blossomed here in Jordan despite the many hardships and violence people have faced due to conflict in their home countries.
FAWCO funding will make an extraordinary difference in CRP’s ability to increase our reach to women and girls through targeted programming that addresses their most pressing needs. At the heart of the project is getting girls into the classroom. Education is not a given for refugee children here in Jordan, as the $100 on average it costs annually per child for school supplies, books and a uniform is prohibitively expensive for most families, who have multiple children. FAWCO will enable us to get 100 girls into school each year and will ensure that these girls won’t be without the foundational literacy and numeracy skills they need.
CRP’s after school program is a vital means for children to get the educational support they need to begin working at grade level. Because so many of the children in our community have missed out on years of schooling due to displacement, they often lag behind academically and struggle from the trauma they’ve undergone. We are elated at the opportunity to develop the Super Girls initiative--a girl-focused leadership and education program that will equip girls with life and leadership skills and offer them an accelerated academic support and computer skills training program.
As I mentioned, the inability to work is a key stressor for refugee families that affects their daily lives. That’s why this project will not only address ways that women can access the informal work world--we will provide vocational training to them via beautician skills and intensive computer skills training—but it will also look squarely at the tendency for this stress to influence negative coping behaviors. Primary among them is family violence, and CRP will be working with men and boys as well as women and girls in our community to raise awareness and prevent violence against women and children.
CRP has already done a bit of work to educate our community about the importance of gender equality and the need for our community as a whole to support one another to combat family violence and encourage women to take on leadership roles. But FAWCO will enable this work to significantly expand and will provide individuals with opportunities to more fully take on leadership positions to run training sessions through the project as well as advocate within the larger community. This is work that we would never have had the means to undertake without FAWCO’s amazing support. I cannot express how excited we are at this opportunity and eager we are to begin.
We have already begun planning and setting out a timetable to get started. Because the majority of the activities this project will support are brand new and require some time to set up, we are gearing up to launch our Hope Beyond Displacement project on September 1. Please keep checking this space, as we’ll be updating you on how the project progresses, and feel free to check in with us about any questions you might have about the exciting work we’ll be doing.
Again, we are ecstatic at the opportunity to partner with FAWCO to educate and empower refugee women and girls who only recently have undergone ordeals many of us can barely imagine. Our long work with Iraqi and Syrian refugees in Jordan and deep knowledge of the community we serve make us confident that FAWCO’s support will be a catalyst for transforming hundreds of lives throughout our work together. Thank you so much for this opportunity!
- Amanda Lane