Azraq refugee camp marks fourth anniversary

Ann Mazen has been working in Azraq refugee camp since it was created 4 years ago.Ann Mazen has been working with CARE since Azraq camp for Syrian refugees was set up four years ago. She has seen the camp, its residents and CARE’s work evolve and adapt to the long-lasting crisis. This is what she had to say:

“From the day we started working in Azraq camp, we conducted surveys that showed us that women needed vocational training. We specialize in this and so we created a recreational and self-development program for women, which includes sewing, knitting, cosmetology and making accessories. Our program was in such high demand that we had to find a much bigger space to accommodate all the participants. Women who took part in the program became more self-confident and financially empowered. These were talented women who just needed some support.

I started working at the camp’s waiting area, before moving to recreational activities and self-development programs for refugees. At the beginning, there were barely any services provided for people. Now, there is even electricity in some parts of the camp. The programs and interventions CARE provides have expanded as well. We used to face a problem in reaching women in the camp. By our 4th year, women’s participation in our programs has increased tremendously. Still, the needs are immense. The camp is very hot, dry and dusty in the summer and very cold in the winter. Refugees face harsh living conditions. There is no transportation and there is only one hospital, where people have to walk long distances on foot to get to.

Safety and privacy is a real problem for many women in the camp. The latrines for women and men, though separate, are very close to each other. This presents a huge challenge, especially for women who are in the camp on their own.

Another problem is work. For mothers, it is very difficult to find work outside the camp and leave their children behind. This is why women need to be supported and empowered. CARE has worked on empowering women and girls by building their skills and giving them general support. When women believe in their strength, they become the beacon of light that guides the rest of the community.”

In Azraq, CARE runs four community centers that serve as a place for refugees to gather and take part in recreational, social and awareness-raising activities. People also receiving information on main services in the camp. It is a “one stop shop” for refugees where case management and referral services are also provided. Kepping busy is central to the mental and emotional welfare of camp residents and as such, ensuring camps are equipped with places where refugees can gather and engage in social activities is very important. These centers also include libraries and day care spaces for children under the age of 5, which enable women to engage in training programs, there are sporting events, a reading program for girls, and art courses. The community centers also contribute to cash for work programs, which provides an income for semi-skilled, skilled, and highly skilled refugees. Additionally, the centers provide an e-learning platform for refugees and safe spaces for children. CARE has 47 staff members, 85 Syrian and 26 Jordanian volunteers working in the camp which hosts 55,000 Syrian refugees. Learn more about our repsonse to the Syrian refugee crisis.

You can help CARE continue to provide support and essential to services to Syrian refugees.