Friday, February 13, 2009

Stateless and hungry - Feb 9

Maha, Lana and I delivered food assistance packages to 3 families that were recommended to us by another aid organization here. In the past, all of the families they have directed us to have been Iraqi refugees in need. This time, when we visited these three families, we were surprised to find out that they are not Iraqi - but Bedoon - a nomadic group who once roamed the region including Iraq but, since the declination of borders creating nations following WW1, and as borders of these nations have tightened up, the Bedoon have been forced to remain within the borders of the countries they were in. The families we visited today were in Kuwait until they were able to travel illegally to Jordan. When in Kuwait, they did not have citizenship and were not allowed to work or for their children to attend schools.

You can read more about the Bedoon here.

All three of these families were able to negotiate surreptitious travel and came to Amman to seek relocation in a third country. These families are the lucky ones; the UN is arranging for their resettlement now. But, while they wait for resettlement, they are living in poverty and as needy as any of the Iraqi families we assist. So, although we usually do not provide assistance to other nationality groups, since we brought with us food to their homes, of course we provided them assistance.

This is one of the hardest parts of our work - encountering families who are as needy as Iraqi refugees here and, because of budget limitations and our mission statement, we must deny them aid. When it comes down to it, human need has no nationality and the responsibility of those of us with more resources is the same, no matter who is in need.

Below are photos of these three families

Mohammed and Khaiya have three children: Afrah - 9, Sajad - 8, and Anwar - 5

Ali and Shukra with two of their 9 children

Intisar's husband has already gone to the UK for asylum. She and their 5 children are waiting to join him there