Single Mothers Amongst Most Vulnerable Refugees
In Jordan, one in every four residents is a refugee, most of them Syrian. The vast majority do not live in camps, but in cities and villages, often surviving in deplorable conditions.
Among the most vulnerable are single women, many of whom have exhausted their savings as the Syrian War is set to enter its sixth year – and they are growing increasingly desperate.
Living In just two rooms, Jamila, 19, lives with her baby girl, her four-year-old son, her mother, and her younger sister and brother. The living room is furnished with a couple of worn sofas and an old television. In the bedroom, there is one bed and a shard of mirror on the wall.
Jamila speaks openly about the difficulties of being a Syrian refugee in Jordan. “I feel very lonely as a single mother,” she says. “The future frightens me. I don’t know how to read or write; how can I provide for my children?”
Jamila once lived in the Syrian city of Idlib. At the age of 14, she married her husband, who worked as a baker. But then the war started.
“Our house burned down. My husband couldn’t work any more; we couldn’t do anything apart from waiting to get killed,” she says. “Many nights, we went to sleep without any food or water, fearing for our lives.’’
After leaving Syria, Jamila and her children went to stay with her mother in Jordan, while her husband left for Turkey, hoping to eventually reach Germany.
“He planned to pay a smuggler to take him to Greece in a rubber boat, but I haven’t heard from him ever since. It’s been seven months now, and he never called,” Jamila says. “On the news, I heard about boats sinking. Deep in my heart, I know that he will never come back, that he’s drowned.”
She stares out the window at Amman’s endless hills, dotted with myriad white houses. She is not crying as she contemplates her husband’s fate. He was not a good man, she says. “He beat me and treated me like his servant. I am not sad for him not coming back.”
At that moment, Jamila’s baby begins to cry, and she gently starts nursing her. The little girl was born in Amman. “I want my girl to go to school. I don’t want her to be like me. I want her to be a strong and educated woman.” Jamila says,
“I used to be strong too,” she adds with a sigh. “I was a girl who liked to laugh and make fun. But not after what I have been through. It’s been a tragedy for five years; but whatever happens, I will still smile for my children. They are the only reason for me to go on.”
- Pray for women refugees, who, like Jamilla, are struggling to provide for their families and often living in desperate conditions, with little hope for change.
- Pray for Christians living and working amongst the refugees in Jordan and Lebanon, that they will be a channel for the Holy Spirit to renew hope and life within these desperate people.
- Pray for good literacy programmes amongst the refugee women that will allow them to get work as they learn to read and write. Pray that they will also learn of Jesus as they become able to read His word.
- Pray for lasting peace in Syria.
Deuteronomy 10 vs 17 – 18: “For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, … who executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and who loves the strangers, providing them with food and clothing.“