Friday, July 3, 2009

Your Gift Keeps on Giving - Salwa's Micro-Project

When your donations purchase equipment and supplies for a family to have a home-based "Micro-Project" cottage industry, we ask each recipient to sign an agreement that they will not sell the equipment and that they will return it to us for another family to use if they are granted resettlement to another country or if they *return to Iraq.

(*we often agree to allow families to take their Micro-Project equipment with them if they go back to Iraq, knowing that the situation there is even worse than in Jordan and that their project can help them earn a living there)

When Abu Abbas and his family were granted resettlement to the US (read more about this family in the post below this one), they returned the Iraqi bread oven CRP had given them for their Micro-Project so that another family could use it to earn a small income. We did not have anyone on our long list of those waiting for Micro-Projects who had requested an oven so we called another past recipient - also a baker - and asked if she knew of anyone who could benefit from the oven. She referred us to Salwa.

Salwa lives with her daughters - 11 year old Noorham, 18 year old Sally, two sons: 19 year old Saifadeen and his 23 year old brother, Ethier. They share the small apartment with her eldest daughter, Hadeer, who is married and has two small children - 4 year old Amir and his 8 month old sister, Rafaf.

Salwa is an Iraqi who had married a Palestinian man and they had raised their family in Iraq with no problems because of their different nationalities until after the lawlessness caused when the US invaded and dismantled the police and security forces. Then Salwa and her husband began getting death threats:
They found notices tucked into the gate to their home that stated: "You are the cause of our problems because you are Palestinian" Salwa tells us of a taxi driver who drove between Jordan and Iraq and he was killed because it was assumed that he was Palestinian. The family was terrified. Salwa's husband left to go to his family in Palestine. No one in his family have seen him though - they think he may be held in an Israeli prison - but no one knows for sure.

Salwa's daughter, Hadeer, was married to an Iraqi man at the time and she was pregnant with Amir. Hadeer, her husband, Salwa and the other children fled to come to Jordan. Hadeer's husband was caught and forced back to Iraq (as were many "military age" men at that time). The women and children stayed in Amman. When Hadeer was nearly ready to have the baby, she returned to Iraq to be with her husband for this important time. When Amir was 2 months old, she and her husband attempted to go to Jordan again. Hadeer and the baby were allowed to enter but her husband was turned back at the border. He then attempted to come to Jordan again two weeks later. He never made it. The bus he was traveling on was attacked and everyone on it was murdered.

Hadeer has remarried - to a poor Palestinian man who lives here in Jordan. He is the father of baby Rafaf. He works but his job is intermittant and has very low wages. Salwa's eldest son works part-
time in a restaurant at very low wages. The family all live together and pool their meager resources to get by. They are not enough.

Salwa is excited to receive the bread oven. Although a grandmother, she immediately ran to help the delivery man carry the heavy oven up the hillside to their home. Salwa made this type of bread when she lived in Iraq and looks forward to having useful work and being able to contribute to the family income.

She thanks you:

"Thanks to God there are people who care for us Iraqis. It is beautiful that they feel our feelings and try to help us. We pray only to see the end of our suffering here. When - insha'allah (God willing) - we can return to Iraq, we will always remember you as the only people who helped us"