Amena’s story, from Syria to King Abdullah Park
Amena, a Syrian volunteer with ACTED, stands near the controls of a crackling sound system and humming projector. A group of young girls, dressed in matching pink outfits and with green handkerchiefs tied to their wrists, wait for their queue. The music starts and the girls run unto the stage and start their dance routine. The crowd, seated in rows of plastic chairs, cheers and claps along, officially opening the International Women’s Day ceremony in King Abdullah Park refugee camp.
Located in the north of Jordan, near the outskirts Irbid town, King Abdullah Park has received thousands of refugees, both Syrians and Palestinians. In the last five years, the population has fluctuated from 6,000 inhabitants to the current 300 refugees. Present since its opening in 2012, ACTED continues to provide water, sanitation and hygiene services to the camp residents, ensuring that they all receive safe drinking water and that solid waste and black and grey waters are removed from the camp. Amena works as a hygiene promoter volunteer for ACTED in King Abdullah Park, providing vital information to the camps residents.
Like many refugees, Amena feels that her future in Jordan is bleak.
There is nothing for us here, we are just waiting to return to our country.
Amena used to be a teacher before the conflict began in Syria. Leaving everything behind, she arrived in Jordan in 2012 and has been living in refugee camps ever since.
However, since she started working with ACTED a huge weight has been lifted from her shoulders.
Thanks god, I have this job. I can now give my family an income. Before I was with ACTED I was upset because I had nothing to do.
Amena now serves her community by organising hygiene awareness sessions with the children, women and men as well as distributing hygiene kits to families. She was also one of the key organisers of International Women’s Day, helping to bring together the female youth of the camp and organising plays, poetry, song and dance about women and girls life in the camp.
Back in the community centre, a group of young girls performs a play on the importance of respecting one’s mother. Running and screaming, they ignore their mother’s please to quieten down and behave. The scene freezes, and one of the girls starts to recite a poem praising mothers for the daily sacrifices they carry out for their children and the strength they have to keep going. Amena explains in more detail that:
The programme we organized for women’s day had several activities, but one message, that women are important and should be valued
Even in the face of adversity, Amena continues to work towards a future with greater opportunities. Amena hopes to return to university as soon as possible.
I used to be a teacher, now I would like to train teachers, I hope to eventually continue studying and get a degree.
— the field