Snapshots from Amman

BY MICHELLE ABOU-RAAD

“Why hasn’t this been done before?” was a phrase I encountered at just about every organization I visited in Amman. Indeed, “Why hasn’t this been done before?” became somewhat of a refrain of our trip, a typical response to our explanations of our efforts at Urban Refuge.

During the first week of January, I traveled alongside fellow team member Vicky Kelberer to Jordan to conduct research and to prepare for the upcoming launch of Urban Refuge. Because of the generous support from our Crowdfunding campaign, we were able to cover transportation costs within Amman in order to verify organizations and services in our database on our trip. We embarked on this process by dividing up data points regionally before visiting the locations and asking questions to ensure that all of our information was up-to-date and ready to be added to the application. Although we started the process of aid location verification, the rest will be completed by a team of Syrian and Jordanian interns on the ground.

What Urban Refuge intends to do—map aid and services—is a basic process that will have a large impact on refugee and vulnerable populations in Jordan. For us, the beauty of this idea lies in its simplicity. Judging by the response we received in Amman, others agree.

Through my experience visiting organizations, I found that although some locations were accurate, others had missing or entirely inaccurate information. Others simply did not exist! Because refugees living in Amman often have limited resources, making one’s way to an address found online only to find that there is no organization is not only costly, but also disheartening. For this reason, as a team we are committed to verifying all of the information in our database before adding it to the application.


Having visited some of these organizations on our own, we now better understand how to train our interns to ensure that our process is as efficient and safe as possible. The official Amman-based team will be up and running soon so be sure to follow us on social media to track our progress!

 

 

Urban Refuge team member Michelle Abou-Raad admiring street art in Amman, Jordan. 

Urban Refuge team member Michelle Abou-Raad admiring street art in Amman, Jordan.