“When I heard that Relief International was looking for staff, I immediately applied…. Working with RI has introduced me to an experienced and supportive team that I have learned so much from.”
Al Batoul is a Syrian refugee who lives in Azraq camp in Jordan with her husband and five children. “I used to live in Hamath, Syria with my family.”
“We had to leave our home in the middle of the night in the pouring rain, running from one neighborhood to another to save our lives, until the whole region had been demolished and there was nowhere left for us to live.”
“That’s when we took the final decision to flee our hometown to Jordan.”
"The journey from Syria to Jordan was the hardest thing I have ever lived through,” says Al Batoul.
The trip took the family a day and a half to get to the Jordanian border, during which they ran out of food and water and were utterly terrified for their lives.
“I am unable to accurately describe the situation even now, no matter how hard I try,” says Al Batoul.
“We traveled in a large vehicle in the middle of the desert and arrived at the Jordanian border at around midnight. It was only then that we felt a little safer and more relieved.”
Al Batoul has lived in Jordan ever since, and currently lives in Azraq camp. She has five children; four girls who are 11, 8, 6, and 3.5 years old, and a baby boy who’s 6 months old.
Al Batoul’s husband has to leave the camp for weeks at a time for work, so “the biggest responsibility at the camp falls on me.”
The job that Al Batoul applied for at RI’s education center in the camp was as a Psycho-Social Support (PSS) counselor.
Al Batoul was successful in her application, and in early 2023 she received full training from RI on how to help students and young people in the camp to manage their feelings while raising their awareness on the importance of safety and protection related issues.
“I work with students to help them get rid of anxiety and stress through exercises like deep breathing and meditation, as well other activities where they learn to recognize their emotions and overcome the negative ones.”
“Sometimes we use these exercises as icebreakers during the sessions. The students become more motivated as a result and enjoy the sessions even more.”
Recently, Al Batoul has been guiding her students on the importance of “safe spaces.” Safe spaces are places which are free from bias, conflict and criticism – places where people can be themselves and feel supported.
“The sessions had a really positive effect on the students.”
“They told me that they now know how to recognize their “safe space”.
“Some of them said that the sea is their safe space because they feel most secure when they can see it and smell it.”
"Some students say that the RI centers are their safe spaces, which makes me happy."
These sessions are important because some girls are exposed to bullying, violence, and threatening behavior by their peers. But now, thanks to the sessions, they are better equipped to handle these situations.
“The anti-bullying sessions help build the students’ confidence and encourage them to report harassment incidents that they may have encountered.” This way more students get the support they need.
“Sometimes students get involved in situations that they may have thought were normal, but because of the protection component of our sessions, they now recognize when they are being subjected to exploitation or harassment.”
“They are also more aware of how to handle such situations – girls get to learn to set boundaries with those around them and better accept themselves.”
These sessions are transformational for the girls that attend them.
“I wish someone had taught us these things when we were their age” says Al Batoul.
“Perhaps our lives would have been better, we would have gained more skills, and we could have improved our abilities.”
“That’s why I believe these sessions are a great opportunity to teach these ladies” says Al Batoul triumphantly.
Relief International in Jordan
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