In Jordan, Handicap International provides relief assistance to refugees fleeing the Syrian conflict, in particular those who are injured or especially vulnerable. The organisation also runs projects to promote greater recognition of disabled people’s rights in the country.
© Dan Giannopoulos / Handicap International
Actions in process
More than 650,000 Syrians have sought refuge in Jordan to escape the conflict in Syria. Totally disoriented after months of bombings, they need to be guided to the correct reception facilities. For people who are injured or especially fragile it is essential that the appropriate care is provided.
Since the summer of 2012, Handicap International has been working with Syrian refugees in Jordan. The organisation has opened a rehabilitation centre in Za’atari camp, which currently hosts almost 80,000 syrian refugees. Physiotherapy services, prostheses and orthoses are delivered by Handicap International teams to people with injuries at this centre, as well as in hospitals and clinics.
The organisation has also set up a series of “Disability and Vulnerability Focal Points”, both permanent and mobile, to ensure that the most vulnerable people receive the humanitarian aid they need: rehabilitation care, prostheses, mobility aids (crutches, wheelchairs, etc.), psychosocial support and help in accessing other forms of humanitarian aid. Additional support can be provided to refugees who need assistance to buy basic necessities (water, food, hygiene items and clothes) and pay for their accommodation. The organisation also raises the Syrian people’s awareness of the dangers of explosive remnants of war, to prepare them for a possible return to their home country.
In Jordan, some 160,000 Syrian refugees have benefited from these initiatives so far.
A presence in Jordan also enables Handicap International to work with disabled people’s organisations, helping them to gain greater recognition of their rights in the country.
Situation of the country
Jordan is stable in spite of the mass influx of Syrian refugees.
Though Jordan has an average human development index (HDI) value, there is still evidence of significant inequalities within the population. It is known to be one of the most stable countries in the region. More than 650,000 Syrian refugees are currently living there. Among the new refugees, a growing number of vulnerable people have been identified. On their arrival, they find themselves in an unknown environment, with no resources, and often require emergency support.
In April 2014, a survey conducted in Lebanon and Jordan by Handicap International, working in collaboration with HelpAge International, found that 5.7% of refugees, i.e. more than 90,000 people, had serious injuries. Moreover, in three out of four cases these injuries will lead to a permanent disability due to their severity and the lack of medical attention.
Status of people with disabilities
People with disabilities are one of the most vulnerable population groups in Jordan, particularly if they live in rural or isolated areas. A major step forward in protecting their rights was achieved when Jordan ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in 2008. However, people with disabilities have very little involvement in developing public policy.
 Hidden Victims of the Syrian Conflict: Disabled, Injured and Older Refugees.