Muslims of Trinidad and Tobago Humanitarian Mission In Jordan

Muslims of Trinidad and Tobago humanitarian mission continued onto its third leg in Jordan. Here is a report sent in by Imitiaz Mohammed, who is leading the mission.

“We arrived here at about 4 p.m. Monday 08th October 2018. It was a tiring 19 hours of travel from Kenya to Dubai to Beirut to Jordan. We were completely exhausted by the time we arrived at our hotel.

We were well received by our brothers and sisters from Islamic Relief Worldwide, Jordan office. We met at their office first and then hit the road with the visits to the Syrian and Palestinian camps and those who live in homes of their own. Those living in homes are still struggling to even pay their rent, buy food etc. Islamic Relief has a very impressive and professional operation here in Jordan with 53 staff members spread out between the main office in Amman and three field offices. They are giving invaluable support to both the Syrian and Palestinian refugees in Jordan providing services in health, education, psychology and social services etc. Br.Salah (UK) and Sis. Ala (Jordan) was very instrumental in planning this leg of our trip, may God reward them with good.

 Just a few points to be noted.

1. Jordan population-10m, almost half being refugees.

2. Palestinian refugees-2M.

3. Syrian refugees- 1.4m

4. Iraqi refugees – 1m

On Tuesday morning, we drove about one hour and a half to the northeast to a place called Al Mafraq, also known as the “poverty pocket” in Jordan. In this area, approximately 200,000 Syrian refugees were settled during the years after the Syrian uprising and the war begun. They are not allowed to work. From here it is about 2 hours drive to the Syrian border.

In Mafraq, we visited the Islamic Relief field office here and were able to witness the operation of the makeshift school for Syrian children and the psychology and social services offered to the women, who have all gone through a period of war in their homeland Syria. Some of these women lost their husbands, some are taking care of orphan children accepting them as part of their families etc.

We visited 2 very poor Syrian families while in Mafraq. Our heart becomes heavy and full of sadness, our eyes become full of tears and our voice became silent as we heard their stories. One of the families home was bombed, her mother and father died as a result of the bombing and two of her children were burnt leaving them with scars all over their bodies and traumatized for life. They also have at least three disabled children in the family so you could imagine the unbearable pain this family goes through daily. Think for a moment, what it would take for this family to migrate from Syria to Jordan on foot with all the physical disabilities and challenges in their lives. The mother has also gotten mentally ill after her father died in the bombing. I sat in their humble and part roofless home in their traditional way on the cushions on the ground and listened to their stories while flies roam and sit on the babies next to me. For these families, their only income comes from charity through NGO or personal contributions from individuals, which are not really allowed legally in Jordan. The implemented refugee system here allows for registered NGOs only to provide support to the refugees here. 

All the families can tell you of similar stories, their homes destroyed, loved ones died through bombing, physical disabilities became a part of their lives, no income, no food, no clothes or clean clothing, no money to buy medication or pay their rent etc. These stories tear our hearts apart. 

The needs of the refugees in Jordan are different to those in other countries. All Palestinian refugees are in homes owned by other people, so they have to pay a rent. The homes are so dilapidated with broken walls, no roofs, unsanitary surroundings especially the toilets. So they have to pay a rent. Most cannot keep up to date with their rent, or buy food, medicine etc.

 Muslims of Trinidad and Tobago have decided to give 35 Palestinian families and 35 Syrian families the sum of US$287.00 ($200.00 JD). MOTT would give a total of US$20,090.09 for this purpose.  This amount will be able to pay one month rent or they would be able to purchase some food, medications etc. Their reaction was one of thankfulness, gladness, gratefulness and some cried and made dua for us all in Trinidad and Tobago.

In Jordan, Palestinian refugees have settled here since NAQBA, that is the forced expulsion from their homeland, started in 1948. This area where they have settled is called Al Aqaba’a and the Palestinian population in this area is about 300,000. In this case, the Palestinians have been registered with the relevant Jordanian authorities, some have a refugee passport, very small businesses selling new and used items. The one common thing among them is gross poverty. Most never seem to overcome the challenges in their lives. Thankfully, the Jordanian government is allowing their children to go to school and get an education. InshaAllah (God willing), Allah would them some comfort in the future.”