Suad Al Anati started volunteering with CARE Jordan in February 2015 and became a full time employee just over a year later. I studied civil engineering at university and worked in that sector for two years, but had to quit my job due to an emergency family situation. During my stay at home, I heard from our neighbors, who were Syrian refugees, that they were receiving assistance from CARE in Zarqa. So, I decided to go and ask them if I could help in any way; and that’s how it all began.
I have felt a strong connection to all the beneficiaries at Azraq since day one. My mother’s relatives all lived in Syria and my last visit was just before the war started. I feel personally responsible to step up and help the camp residents because of how hospitable they were during my numerous visits to Syria. I took a personal vow to help as many people as possible to the best of my ability.
My work at the camp as a case manager is extremely valuable to me because I am in direct contact with many people of various age groups and backgrounds. I listen to all of their difficulties and think of innovative solutions to try and help them through their hardships at the camp. I have heard all types of complaints and probably thousands of problems, which we work tirelessly to solve. My time working at the camp has taught me to count my blessings and be patient. Patience is truly a virtue, and I’ve learned that from the people I try to help every day.
“I feel personally responsible to step up and help the camp residents because of how hospitable they were during my numerous visits to Syria. I took a personal vow to help as many people as possible to the best of my ability.” – Suad Al Anati
Photo credits: Emily Milton
I started with CARE shortly after my father passed away. I will never forget how one time, during work, while I was waiting for my next case, an old man came into my office. He looked shockingly similar to my late father. I was taken aback by how much he resembled him and started crying. The man asked me if he could do anything to help me and I told him how he looked exactly like my father. Days passed and when the winter came, I gave him my father’s jacket, which was one of my few prized possessions. I wanted it to keep him warm, just like his presence warms me when I see him. Who would have thought you could experience such precious feelings in a refugee camp?
I see the camp going through more developments in the future. I feel that our main focus is to increase the livelihood opportunities at the camp and give people the means to live dignified lives in which they no longer depend on assistance. Nonetheless, over the past few years, I have seen the camp develop and change in many ways. Services have improved and the infrastructure has developed; even the landscape has changed. You can now see electrical towers, the shelters have cement floors above the once bare earth, people have customized their shelters to stand out amongst the vastness of white boxes, and much more. These developments make me both happy and sad. Of course, I want the refugees to have better lives, but improvements to the camp also mean that it is developing into a small city. In turn, this makes their stay seem more permanent, while they are still away from their homes and the kind of life they once lived. I have been wishing for peace and their safe return since 2011, and I will continue to do so. I will work to help them until my wish comes true.
While the camp has developed over the years, I have also developed as a person throughout my time working there. I have discovered certain traits that I did not know I had. I am very good at listening, and this quality grew and matured in a way that I cannot put into words. I feel that I can listen to people in a different way, like seeing with fresh eyes, but instead, listening with fresh ears to every beneficiary that enters my office. I feel like this helps them even if I can’t solve their problems. A good listener can make you feel much better, knowing that the person you are talking to truly hears what you are saying.
“I have been wishing for peace and [the safe return of Syrian refugees] since 2011, and I will continue to do so. I will work to help them until my wish comes true.” – Suad Al Anati
Photo credits: Emily Milton
For more on CARE's work in Jordan, Read here.
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