Report from Jordan: How Ration Challenge funds are helping refugees

In October, Act for Peace staff, Mikaela and Sharon, travelled to Jordan to meet with our partner, the Department of Services for Palestinian Refugees (DSPR), to see how funds provided by the Ration Challenge are making a difference to the lives of refugees living there.

We’d like to share an update from their trip, including exciting news about a new pilot project which aims to help refugee families out of poverty.

Mikaela (left) and Sharon (right) meeting with DSPR director Fares Swais to discuss the new Forsa program. Credit: Act for Peace

How Ration Challenge funds are helping

Between January 2021 and June 2022, funding has supported more than 20,000 people, who have received a range of support including health workshops, health referrals, food ration packs, protection and awareness raising workshops, livelihood training workshops, and training of trainers workshops.

This is an incredible achievement and these workshops, food ration packs and training sessions are life-changing for those who receive them.

Mikaela and Sharon went with the DSPR Forsa team to visit the project in Gaza camp, Jerash. They met some of the mentors who conduct the fortnightly home visits to the project participants, and who mentor and coach the households along on their Forsa journeys. Credit: Act for Peace

Launching an exciting new pilot project called ‘Forsa’

Sharon and Mikaela were also able to observe and monitor trainings and workshops on an exciting new initiative DSPR is working on called Forsa, which means “opportunity” in Arabic.

The Forsa program is an approximately 18-month initiative that works with members of the refugee community to assist them in reaching a point of self-reliance. It’s such an incredible program that means we can work together on more long-term solutions for people affected by displacement. One of the countries where this model has launched is Jordan, using funds raised by Ration Challengers.

In Jordan, the Forsa program has been up and running now for four months and some of the effects of this support are already becoming visible.

Mikaela and Sharon went with the DSPR Forsa team to visit the project in Gaza camp, Jerash. They met some of the mentors who conduct the fortnightly home visits to the project participants, and who mentor and coach the households along on their Forsa journeys.

Hear from one family taking part in the ‘Forsa’ project

Mikaela went to visit a family of six taking part in the program.

“While they left Syria about a decade ago, they had moved to this area about five years ago,” Mikaela says.

 “Tragically, shortly afterwards they lost a child to cancer, and then became very indebted because of medical bills. They became very depressed after this, and as they were new to the community and COVID-19 had recently begun to spread and cause lockdowns, they were very isolated and reclusive, and didn’t engage with the community. Later, they attended awareness-raising sessions when they heard about DSPR and the Forsa program.”

Mikaela — along with mentors from the DSPR team — visits a family who have already been impacted by taking part in the Forsa program. Credit: Act for Peace

              “Since joining the program, they said that they have regained hope, and that their wellbeing has greatly improved because of the visits from the Forsa mentors that keep them on track with their goals. They have even started engaging with the community again. They told me proudly that through the program they have been able to purchase cushions for the living room so that they can now invite over other members of the community, which helps them to interact with others and build social connections whereas before they felt isolated, depressed and reluctant to invite people to their home.”

“Also, there has already been a positive impact on their children’s lives. Their son, who is in year nine, had recently dropped out of school. However, with the support from the Forsa program, the household was able to purchase school supplies for their son, so he has gone back to school because he is no longer embarrassed to be without the things he needs for school in front of the other students. Previously, the children had to work to help support the family, particularly during the summertime, but now that the family has support from the program and a plan to graduate into self-reliance, they are very eager for this to stop so that the children can focus solely on education, which they feel is incredibly important.”

For one family to be able to take part in the Forsa project, it costs approximately $15,000, so we are incredibly grateful to all of our supporters who have contributed to backing people uprooted by conflict and disaster.

“When I heard this family speaking about the incredible hardships they’ve been through since coming to Jordan, but their resilience and determination to be independent and build a strong future for their children, I felt very touched and also fortunate to be able to contribute to the incredible work that DSPR is doing to support these households,” explained Mikaela.

Without our Ration Challengers, amazing progress like this would not be happening right now.

We are so excited about the long-term benefits the Forsa program is hoping to achieve and very grateful to our Ration Challenge participants and their sponsors and community for all they have contributed towards supporting refugees and displaced people via the Ration Challenge.

Interested in taking part in the Ration Challenge 2023?

We are working hard to bring the Ration Challenge 2023 to you. Registrations aren’t open yet but if you’d like us to email you when they are, you can express your interest here.

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The international humanitarian agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia.

Act for Peace acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Owners of country throughout Australia and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

© Copyright 2021, Act for Peace Ltd ABN 86 619 970 188

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The international humanitarian agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia.

Act for Peace acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Owners of country throughout Australia and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

© Copyright 2021, Act for Peace Ltd ABN 86 619 970 188