Refugees are very apparent examples of the consequences of instability and conflict. Perhaps they make us uncomfortable because they are different. Perhaps they make us uncomfortable because they pose a threat, whether actual or perceived. Regardless of how members of the international community feel towards refugees, there is no denying that the recent refugee and migrant crisis has proven that what happens in one country, most definitely can affect another.
The crisis has brought the political and economic struggles of other countries to the doors of nations who might not have noticed otherwise—and we know that the crisis is not going away any time soon. Which is why it is important for governments and organizations to invest in long term solutions, such as proper housing, education and working permits. We, the everyday people, cannot directly change legal policy towards refugees, but we help attitudes become more progressive towards them by donating to organizations that directly aid refugees and by encouraging our political leaders to do more about the issue.
Why should we do this? Well, besides the argument for simply supporting fellow humans in times of crisis, it is important to acknowledge that refugees are just like anyone else: with the right opportunity, they can make a huge impact on society. Many Syrians and Iraqis fleeing their countries were once doctors, lawyers and teachers who, if given the opportunity and the tools, can become powerful liaisons between their communities and the communities of their host countries and preform powerful work even while displaced.
There are statements claiming that refugees are “a drain on resources” and that they need to “stay in their countries and fight to fix things”. However, if we don’t provide refugees with shelter, education and legal and medical help, they will not be able to contribute to society at their highest potentials. They cannot rebuild their lives during a conflict that is still raging if the international community does not give them the help they need. A country’s prosperity doesn’t have to be zero sum—we can all benefit from helping refugees.
For example, thousands of refugee children are missing out on years of education due to poverty, displacement, and mental instability that forces them to fall behind their peers. Many aren’t going to school at all, and those who do struggle. How can we expect that these children will become successful, happy and leading forces in their communities if they don’t have access to basic rights?
A bright and beautiful future for any society begins with the well being of it’s people. In helping refugees recover and flourish in their time of need, we are also setting up a brighter future for Jordan, Syria, Iraq and their neighbors. Just as instability begets instability, prosperity in one region can mean prosperity for the whole world round. If we want stability in the Middle East, the best way to achieve it is to listen to and invest in the people, not drones or weapons. A country’s prosperity doesn’t have to be zero sum—we can all benefit from helping refugees.
Jordan has taken in a significant amount of refugees, not only from Syria and Iraq in recent years, but from Palestine and Lebanon in past times of conflict. But government and NGO aid in the country can only support so much—for aiding the approximately 1.4 million refugees living in Jordan is no easy task. Only 620,000 are officially registered with the UNHCR (June of 2015 according to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace), which means many can easily fall through the cracks without more attention. More global support, from citizens and their countries, can help bear the strain on resources
The more we stand up to the issue, the louder we are saying that this is not ok this is not normal. We don’t have to save the world with one donation but by picking a cause to support, be it education, immunization, or food and shelter, we can contribute to the future of children, families, communities and nations.
If you are committed to helping refugees in Jordan, click out "Take Action" button at the top of our page and get involved with us! Our crowdfunding campaign is currently live, and we are working hard to make our app a reality for Jordan's refugees!