The conflict in Syria has forced nearly four million people to flee their homes. From a comfortable office in DC, it’s difficult to imagine what it’s like to have to leave everything behind. As part of our work with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, KRC Research partner Anita Sharma and I had the opportunity to go to Jordan to see their dedicated staff in action and meet with the families now living in refugee camps. Despite going through some deeply traumatic experiences, I was constantly amazed at the resilience and generosity of each refugee we met. They could not have been kinder or more hospitable. (Anita and I lost count of the number of times we were invited into homes and offered tea!) Much has been written about the violence and conflict, but I wanted to share a few things I learned about the families, and how they cope, that might surprise you:
Insulation sheets can be used to make pretty cool toys.
The fruit and vegetables in camps can be better quality than those in many DC grocery stores.
Jordan gets a surprising amount of snow. Snow makes life a little tougher at the best of times, but through a winterization program refugees were given items such as blankets and gas heaters to help stay warm.
The largest refugee camp in Jordan has a 24-hour medical center where babies are born each week.
This was an amazing opportunity to see the reality that refugees and UN Refugee Agency Staff deal with every day, and to see humanity at both its greatest and toughest moments.
We’re excited to take these insights and apply them to the global branding work we’re developing for the organization.