A New Beginning
For many Syrian refugees seeking shelter from the bombing and violence which has shattered their lives, Jordan is a sanctuary that allows them to focus once again on living, rather than struggling for survival.
But even away from the fighting, their horrific experiences can often continue to dominate their futures.
Eman had been happy in Homs, before the war touched the city. At 51 she was a recognised artist, with a popular gallery and a career as an art teacher – passing on her passion to younger generations of Syrians. Her husband was a successful businessman, they had a comfortable home and led prosperous lives.
All this was lost when they fled and, in Jordan, Eman could not stop crying. She was overcome with sadness at every moment, withdrew from her family and stopped eating or sleeping. She could not see a way forward.
She agreed to meet with an International Medical Corps case worker, and complained that her family's lives were ruined. They were struggling to find employment in their new surroundings, she could not face leaving their house and her children were suffering. Her son had reached Norway illegally and was struggling to adapt, while her daughter Mais – who had been studying law at Homs University – could now not complete her studies.
It was all too much for Eman; she had no energy, no desire to do anything and couldn’t even bring herself to complete the daily chores.
She too was lost.
International Medical Corps’ case worker referred her to a psychiatrist and, just two days, later she was diagnosed with Major Depression Disorder.
Now, through mental healthcare programmes funded with aid from the British people, Eman's recovery could begin. She was provided with medication and set a schedule of therapy sessions where she could explore the feelings she was struggling with. On the psychiatrist’s recommendation, she was also encouraged to begin volunteering as part of the NGO’s work in the country – providing her with a reason to get up in the morning and fill her day.
Eman began teaching again, providing young refugees with a creative outlet to express their feelings and views. Her work began to bring in money, and her family’s financial issues began to improve. Through encouragement from her case worker, the family applied for a scholarship at Al Yarmouk University for Mais – her daughter won the opportunity and returned to her studies. A more motivated Eman began phoning her son in Norway every day, providing the support he needed to begin moving forward – her days filled up and her depression lessened.
Today Eman is enjoying her life once again.
She is more sociable, is part of the community there and able to engage in her art – the outlet which is so important to her. While the stresses that such refugees face still exist for her, she feels she can cope with them, with the support of those medical professionals who have encouraged her to regain her future.