Student society helps to rehouse refugees
Edinburgh students have raised funds to improve the living conditions of a family of Syrian refugees in Jordan.
The University’s Middle Eastern Society raised the money at its annual charity ball.
The family of eight have moved from their tent in a refugee camp to better conditions outside the camp, where they now have access to their own kitchen and bathroom plus mattresses, blankets, heating and a television.
The family, from Daraa in southwest Syria, was identified as needing help by Jordan’s Social Development Minister Khawlah Armouti.
Vice President of the University’s Middle Eastern Society, Husein Alireza, along with committee members Iman Yashruti and Bana Mahasneh, developed links with Minister Armouti in order to provide the assistance.
There are many families in refugee camps who face extremely poor sanitary conditions. The camp is similar to an open-air prison - many refugees are not allowed to leave or seek work outside. The top priority for all the refugees across all age groups is merely to return to their country. Jordan should be praised for taking the equivalent of 20 per cent of their population in refugees, despite being a country with no oil wealth and limited water reserves.
The Middle Eastern Society regularly holds social and cultural events including an annual charity ball.
The Ball was held at the Waldorf Astoria and was attended by 150 people. More than £1600 was raised through ticket sales, a raffle and an auction.
Jordan has a history of absorbing the region’s displaced people. The country has welcomed more than one million Syrian refugees during the current crisis.
According to the UN Refugee Council, Jordan hosted more than 721,000 refugees and asylum-seekers in 2016. Some 91 per cent of these people were Syrians and rest were mainly Iraqis.
The University has a longstanding track record of offering support to students and staff seeking sanctuary from areas affected by conflict.
Edinburgh is a member of the CARA (Council for At Risk Academics) network and staff and student societies engage with refugees in a variety of ways.
The University runs an advisory service, lead by our Edinburgh Global team, to help people affected by the ongoing refugee crisis.
In the past year, the University has supported 14 students and a number of Syrian academics who have fled from the Middle East and other areas.
Postgraduate students at Edinburgh are involved with the LIVED project which focuses on the experiences of school-aged Syrian refugee children in the Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan.
Two environmental sciences undergraduates have also created solar-powered mobile phone charging units for refugees living in camps in Greece.