A Renewed Spirit

Two years ago the increasing insecurity and violence in Iraq forced Adnan and his family to flee to Jordan. He left behind a good life—an excellent job as a sign-language translator and trainer, financial security, and a home. He found himself in a foreign country without permission to work, little savings, no house, and a family of four to provide for. In spite of being welcomed by the Jordanian community—for which Adnan is grateful—life was difficult.

Adnan had become depressed and lost almost all hope until he began participating in the Enhancing the Economic Resilience of Displaced Iraqis and Poor Jordanians program sponsored by the Near East Foundation (NEF). After completing training in economic resource management and perfume production, and with his spirit renewed and self-confidence restored, Adnan decided to use his newly acquired skills to provide for his family. He became passionate about perfume production, and began making it at home, applying what he had learned in the program with the start-up kit he was given by NEF. As a result, Adnan has already increased his monthly income by 40 percent, and he is also eager to start knitting carpets again, a skill he’d learned years ago as a hobby in Iraq.

Adnan’s situation is not unique. At the end of 2014, the estimated number of Iraqi refugees in Jordan was 31,000, and at the same time, the Hashemite Kingdom is also hosting more than 600,000 Syrian refugees. The burgeoning crisis in Jordan is affecting all communities, and NEF has identified hundreds of vulnerable refugees in need of economic and vocational training, and cash assistance to equip them with the business tools they need to improve their livelihoods. Adnan says that without NEF support and encouragement, he wouldn’t have found the strength to start all over again. Now he is determined to improve his situation with his own hands, re-building his life and his daughters’ future, little by little, one knot at a time. “When I left Iraq to find refuge in Jordan my life went from the sky to the ground—to nothing,” he says. “It is only after receiving NEF support that I started to have motivation again.”

This was funded by a grant from the United States Department of State. The opinions, findings and conclusions stated herein are those of the author[s] and do not necessarily reflect those of the United States Department of State.

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