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The country of Jordan is the fifth most water-scarce country in the world, following Iran, and is labeled at an “extremely high” risk level. With water scarcity comes multiple risk factors, including water-borne illnesses caused by unsafe drinking water, diseases from a lack of sanitation and death by dehydration. In addition, water scarcity contributes to an increase in sexual exploitation and rape, as children, especially young girls, need to physically travel miles every day through deserts and dangerous terrain to retrieve water for their families. This then contributes to a decrease in education among girls and perpetuates the cycle of poverty in areas in Jordan and globally. Here are 10 facts about sanitation in Jordan.

10 Facts About Sanitation in Jordan

  1. Climate change affects sanitation in Jordan. In most areas of the country, populations are not located near major water sources and water must be transported from distances up to 325 kilometers away. With the rise of climate change causing flash floods, unpredictable and extreme weather patterns and increased temperatures, Jordan faces difficulties accessing necessary sanitation services.
  2. Jordan faces severe water scarcity. According to UNICEF, “Jordan’s annual renewable water resources are less than 100m3 [meters cubed] per person.” This is 400 meters cubed below the threshold of 500 meters cubed, which defines water scarcity.

  3. As a result of an increase in population and industrial and agricultural capacity, Jordan is dealing with severe aquifer depletion. All 12 of Jordan’s main aquifers are declining at rates exceeding 20 meters per year, well beyond their rechargeable volumes. This is especially alarming as 60% of Jordan’s water comes from the ground.

  4. Those in vulnerable and rural areas lack sanitation resources. Proper hygiene norms, such as handwashing and showering, are taught and practiced in households. However, those in more vulnerable and rural areas often lack soap and body wash to stay clean and healthy.

  5. A large percentage of the population in Jordan don’t have access to water. Only 58% of households have direct access to a sewer connection. In comparison to the nearly half of the population in Jordan, only 0.46% of the United States population does not have access to proper plumbing services. This is an especially prevalent issue in rural areas in Jordan, where only 6% of households have a sewer connection.

  6. The Syrian refugee crisis has greatly increased the population in Jordan. As Jordan borders Syria, it has become a safe haven for more than 670,000 refugees of the Syrian civil war. Having accepted the second-highest amount of refugees in the world compared to its population in 2018, this sudden increase in population means added pressure on resources and infrastructure, as well as an increase in air pollution and waste production.

  7. The water network in Jordan has inadequate infrastructure, needing major rehabilitation. Pumps and sewer lines are old and aging. Unfortunately, Jordan’s already scarce water supply is paying the price, with up to 70% of water transported from aquifers through old pumps being lost in the northern areas of Jordan due to water leakage.
  8. The increase in population, agriculture and industry in Jordan has led to an increase in pollution and toxicity in Jordan’s water supply. Upstream abstractions of groundwater have led to an increase in salinity. Unregulated pesticides and fertilizers used for farming have exposed the water supply to dangerous nitrates and phosphorus through runoff. In addition, it is reported that about 70% of Jordan’s spring water is biologically contaminated.

  9. Foreign aid plays a positive role in improving sanitation in Jordan. To mitigate the aforementioned effects threatening Jordan’s water supply and working towards achieving the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 6, USAID works in conjunction with the government of Jordan to build sustainable water and wastewater infrastructure, train hundreds of water experts in Jordan, promote water conservation and strengthen water governance.

  10. Profound progress is seen in the increase in access to water, hygiene services and sanitation in Jordan. From 2000 to 2015, 2,595,670 people gained access to safely managed water services and 2,212,419 people gained access to safely managed sanitation services. In addition, homelessness in Jordan is very rare, meaning open defecation and the illnesses associated with homelessness are less prevalent.

Despite Jordan’s desert climate, clean water and efficient sanitation are achievable and make up the groundwork of global prosperity. Sanitation in Jordan is of the utmost priority in ensuring that Jordan can become a durable consumer and competitor of leading nations.

 Sharon Shenderovskiy
Photo: Flickr

Helping Syrian Refugees After Arriving
The Syrian refugee crisis has been ongoing for more than eight years since the civil war that started in 2011. More than 5 million people have fled Syria, while many more were displaced within Syria itself. Externally, Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan have the highest proportion of Syrian refugees in the world. Since refugees often try to live in urban areas for better employment opportunities, they frequently struggle with financial resources and end up living below the poverty line. In response, domestic and international organizations are helping Syrian refugees after arriving in each of these three countries.

Lebanon

As of June 30, 2016, Lebanon had the most Syrian refugees relative to its population, which was about 173 refugees per 1,000 people, or a total of 1,035,700. Lebanon also hosts a high number of refugees compared to its GDP, equating to 20 refugees per $1 million in GDP. While Lebanon hosts a large number of refugees, it is struggling to provide for them. There are around a million Syrian refugees in Lebanon, 70 percent of whom live below the poverty line. These refugees often have little to no financial resources, which leads them to live in crowded homes with other families in more than 2,100 communities.

One organization helping Syrian refugees in the country is the Lebanese Association for Development and Communication (LADC), which emerged to help both Palestinian and Syrian refugees. Its projects range from community-based projects to aid projects with both local and more than 500 international volunteers helping to establish more than 6,500 beneficiaries. One of its projects was the Paradise Wall, a community art project to smooth the integration process between 120 Syrian and Lebanese children by asking them to work together creatively to produce a wall full of designs.

Turkey

Turkey hosts the largest number of registered Syrian refugees – currently at 3.3 million. Authorities claim that there are more than 3 million Syrian refugees, but that they have not registered. This is because they see Turkey as a transit country or fear deportation. The fear of deportation comes from the fact that Turkey offers temporary protection status to Syrians instead of internationally-recognized refugee status. This increases the likelihood of Turkey deporting the refugees while avoiding the risk of receiving international renouncement for doing so. Most refugees attempt to settle in urban areas in these countries, as opposed to refugee camps where only 8 percent of registered Syrian refugees live.

In Turkey, the UNCHR, EU and WHO have come together to fund the Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers and Migrants (ASAM), which is a multi-regional organization that does a wide variety of work to help Syrian refugees after arriving in Turkey. It has many projects ranging from legal counseling to psycho-social support for children through playful activities. One of its projects titled Women and Girls’ Safe Space emerged to offer training sessions on women’s reproductive health.

Jordan

Jordan is proportionally the second-largest host of the Syrian refugees, sheltering about 89 refugees per 1,000 inhabitants as of 2016. Fifty-one percent of these refugees are children and 4 percent are elderly, meaning that 55 percent are dependents who rely on the remaining 45 percent of adult, working-age Syrian refugees. Consequently, more than 80 percent of them live under the poverty line.

To deal with this, the Jordanian government has initialized formal processes to help them escape poverty. In 2017 alone, the country issued 46,000 work permits so that Syrian refugees work. Recently, in collaboration with UNHCR, the International Labor Organization (ILO) established an employment center, The Zaatari Office of Employment, in the biggest camp for Syrian refugees. By August 2017, around 800 refugees benefited from this center by registering official work permits in place of one-month leave permits.

While the Syrian refugee crisis is still ongoing, it is important to note that many are helping Syrian refugees to settle and integrate into their host societies. Many countries from all over the world are starting to resettle the refugees within their borders to lift off the burden of poverty and overcrowding in certain areas. People often recognize Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey for their willingness to take in large numbers of Syrian refugees, but this must not erase the work a variety of organizations are doing to help refugees after arriving in their new homes.

Nergis Sefer
Photo: Flickr

Girls Education in Turkey
The Turkish education system is not much different from that of the U.S; the state governs education, which is mandatory for 12 years and is free. Students may choose to pursue further education at university with more than 70 universities in Turkey to choose from. However, despite how similar it may appear on the surface, girls education in Turkey is still unequal to their male counterparts.

10 Facts About Girls Education in Turkey

  1. Education is currently the biggest item on Turkey’s government budget. The Turkish Statistical Agency reports that direct and indirect expenses on education have increased by 54 percent between 2011 and 2014 sitting at 113.6 billion liras ($31.4 billion). Of note, education spending as part of Turkey’s overall budget increased by one-third from 8.5 percent to 12.4 percent.
  2. While the female literacy rate has risen to 93.56 percent and the male literacy rate is 98.78 percent, it is not an accurate percentage of the girls throughout Turkey. About 45 percent of girls 15 and under remain illiterate in the country’s eastern and southeastern regions and women account for two-thirds of adults without basic literacy skills.
  3. Sixteen million girls in Turkey will never set foot in a classroom for a multitude of reasons such as poverty, geographical information, pregnancy, gender-based violence and traditional attitudes of the role of a woman.
  4. The lack of a push for girlseducation in Turkey has led to a consistent number of only 39 percent of women being in the labor force for almost three decades. Girls’ families consistently discourage them from continuing school and the girls receive pressure to become homemakers. With little support in their home life, girls follow the life that their parents lead and do not choose to further their education.
  5. Turkey ranks 130 out of 149 on the gender gap index. The gender gap index reports on the gender gap in the economy, education, health and politics. The large gap that Turkey holds in the global index continues to show that women in Turkey face some of the biggest inequalities in the world based on a multitude of measurements.
  6. Since 2009, the male to female enrollment ratio for universities in Turkey increased from 12 percent to 14 percent, and since 2005, graduation rates for college students have increased by 170 percent. While attainment levels remain low, only 18 percent of 25 to 64-year-olds have any higher education so the increase in girls’ higher level education in Turkey remains hopeful.
  7. Fifteen percent of girls under the age of 18 in Turkey enter into forced marriages. Child marriage can be driven by gender inequality, gender norms, poor birth registrations, displacement and violence. When girls become child brides, they are less likely to continue with school and more likely to stay at home and become homemakers.
  8. With the Syrian crisis, the longer refugees are living in poverty, the more likely they are to marry off their daughters to Turkish men. This then leads to girls in Turkey not being able to further their education.
  9. With goal 5 of the U.N.’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Turkey has committed to eliminating child, early and forced marriages in the next decade. During the 2015 Universal Periodic Review, the government-supported policy recommendations to criminalize child marriage and take legislative and political action to bring an end to this archaic practice. This enhancement in eliminating forced childhood marriages allows for more girls to further their education and have more choices in their life as they go into adulthood.
  10. Turkey’s involvement in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development also includes its aim to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.” Goal 4 of the agenda includes seven targets including universal primary and secondary education, universal youth literacy and gender equality and inclusion. Turkey’s participation in the agenda is a step forward in the fight to develop girls education in Turkey.

There is a multitude of initiatives in Turkey other than the Turkish government that intends to reduce inequality in the education system. CYDD, a nonprofit fighting for girls’ education in Turkey, has awarded over 100,000 scholarships and created over 50 schools. These 10 facts about girls’ education in Turkey show the issues that are prevalent, but also the ways in which Turkey is addressing them. The initiatives of nonprofits and the government have bettered girls education in Turkey, but Turkey needs other improvements to further bridge the gap.

– Alexia Carvajalino
Photo: Unsplash

Top 10 Facts About Girl’s Education in Jordan
Education is a weapon that can transform lives, especially for the female population. This fact is true for the girls in the small Arab country of Jordan as well.

Sending a girl to school allows her to build confidence and contribute to the country’s economic, social and political development. Although education in Jordan has reached gender parity in 1999, social norms and traditions, along with other factors, block Jordanian girls from fully utilizing their education in the job market. In the article below, top 10 facts about girls education in Jordan are presented.

Top 10 Facts About Girls Education in Jordan

  1. There is no specific gender disparity in Jordanian primary schools. Over 94 percent of girls attend school compared to 95 percent of boys. Girls in rural areas are just as likely as girls in urban areas to attend school.
  2. About 10 percent of girls who are secondary school age (12-17 years old) are not participating in the education system, compared to 15 percent of male youth of the same age. Although the number is in favor of girls, the percentage is not satisfactory and is mainly the consequence of child marriage or low school performance followed by dropout.
  3. Since 14 percent of the country lives below the poverty line, child marriage occurs often among Jordanian girls in order for parents to be relieved of their financial responsibility. Around 13 percent of girls in Jordan marry before turning 18 years of age. Over 86 percent of girls who marry under the age of 18 have only finished their elementary education. The situation is not better for the Syrian refugee girls that are coming to Jordan since 33 percent of them are already married. This significantly decreases their chances of school enrollment.
  4. The Syrian refugee crisis has strongly impacted on education in Jordan. It has created overcrowded classes and increased educational costs for the government. The government strives to improve its educational standards for girls and boys alike despite this setback caused by the humanitarian crisis. UNICEF is partnering with the Ministry of Education to educate refugees and supply classroom furniture and learning materials. Plan international Jordan create safe child-friendly spaces for Jordanian and Syrian refugee children under the age of 5, which increases the chances that they will attend primary school.
  5. Jordan has one of the highest literacy rates for girls in the Middle East, which is a staggering 97.3 percent. However, this educational advancement does not transfer over to the job force. Jordan has one of the world’s lowest rates of women participating in the workforce at 13.2 percent. If a gender gap in Jordan’s workforce continues to exist, the country will experience a reduction in potential GDP growth of 0.5 to 0.9 percent per year.
  6. A good education is no guarantee that the girl will find employment. Thirty percent of women with a university degree or above are unemployed in the country. The percentage of woman that believe there are obstacles to women’s employment is at 76 percent. They consider that these obstacles have a cultural and religious background that pressures women to stay at home, as well as a lack of women’s job opportunities.
  7. There is a large socio-economic gap that exists in Jordan. In 2009, only 16 percent of girls from underprivileged households excelled above level 2 math, compared to 57 percent of girls from wealthier households. Costly private schools that usually offer better education are reserved for the upper class of society.
  8. Jordan’s government is working to support the empowerment of women and girls. It has partnered with the USAID Mission in order to create policy reforms. Together, they have already developed 59 laws and procedures that promote gender equality. USAID also supports the establishment of Jordan’s first women’s caucus in Parliament and has provided 2,343 women with better employment opportunities. The organization also launched its Takamol Project, a five-year program that encourages governments and civil society institutions to address gender equality.
  9. The government seeks to keep girls safe in their learning environment as 59 percent of schools in Jordan have a guard and surrounding fence. Compared to boy’s and mixed schools, girl’s schools have taken security measures more seriously in order to avoid break-ins or vandalism.
  10. Go Girls is a nationwide initiative that exposes girls to the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects by leading hands-on training workshops. This organization specifically targets public schools and refugee camps in Jordan who have little access to technology. Launched in 2015, Go Girls has already educated and helped thousands of girls across the country.

Thanks to the joint effort of Jordan government and organizations such as USAID, UNICEF and other nongovernmental organizations educational opportunities in the Jordan are significantly improving.

As can be viewed from the top 10 facts about girls education in Jordan shown above, the education of the girls in the country can be improved, but the main focus in the future should be on ensuring the girls with equal job opportunities after the successful education.

Grace Klein
Photo: Flickr

How to Help RefugeesImagine a situation where a person’s homeland is cannot host that person and their family anymore. The word “home” loses its meaning, and people find themselves forced to find somewhere else to live in. President Roosevelt once said, “Peace, like charity, begins at home.” Unfortunately, many people around the world cannot find peace because they have no home. Refugee crises have been an issue in the world for many years, and it is important to learn how to help refugees, even in the smallest ways.

According to UNHCR, 68.5 million people are forcedly displaced worldwide, and 25.4 million of them have refugee status. A recent example is the Syrian Refugee Crisis; according to the Amnesty International, there are approximately 4 million refugees from Syria that are spread to different countries.

Refugees crises are real problems, and actions must be taken to overcome them as soon as possible. Many different actions can be taken at a governmental level, but individuals can take actions to help refugees as well. 

Fundraising

Individual fundraising and donation is one thing that any individual can contribute to the refugee problem around the globe. There are numerous organizations operating in both international and national scale, and all of them are just a click away.

Various Types of Volunteer Work

Money is not your only source to find an answer to the question of how to help refugees. Many organizations that help refugees are not only open to donations, but also to volunteer work. If a person wishes to dedicate more than their money, they can dedicate their time to refugee-focused organizations to become a helper in the field.

Social mobilization of the refugees is also related to volunteer work. Integration of refugees to the daily lives of the host country is very important, but not easy. Refugees must learn the language of the host country, and people in the host country can contribute by helping to teach refugees the host country’s language. Many NGO’s operate for this purpose, and a person who is willing to help can also speak with the municipality of any region about creating a volunteer group project.

Organizations also allow a person to connect with a refugee in need to host someone to live together with, saving them from refugee camps. Refugees Welcome International is one such organization where a person can take a refugee as a roommate, allowing the refugee freedom from the hard conditions of a refugee camp.

Writing to Refugees

If a person is unable to dedicate time or money to refugee crises, they can contribute by contacting a refugee personally. Knowing that someone cares provides important motivation that keeps hope alive for millions of refugees around the world. Organizations like CARE allow anyone to directly send a personal message to a person in need. The message is simple: “I see you and I care.”

Legal Support

Support for the legal needs of refugees is a way that attorneys can contribute to helping refugee crises. For any attorney who is ready to take action on this issue, volunteer attorney positions are available in different organizations. International Refugee Assistance Project is one example of the many organizations that help provide legal services for refugees. 

There are countless ways for an individual to contribute to helping refugees around the world. When a person takes the first step to help, even if that means spreading awareness of refugee crises, they take the first step in making the world a better place. 

Orçun Doğmazer

Photo: Flickr

TPS for Syrian refugeesThe Syrian refugee crisis has been the world’s largest humanitarian crisis for the past six years. The U.S. government has made a decision to grant temporary protected status (TPS) to 7,000 displaced Syrians. The announcement came on January 31, 2018, which granted 18 months of TPS for Syrian refugees in America.

About 400,000 deaths have resulted from the Syrian conflict since April 2016. Nearly 13.5 million people living in Syria face threats, displacement, hunger, injury and death. 6.1 million people living in Syria are displaced from their homes, and more than 4.8 million have fled the country.

Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey have taken in millions of Syrian refugees. The majority of refugees are children, who face malnutrition, forced labor, child marriage, militant drafting, disease and death. A recent survey by U.N. cooperatives shows that children living in Lebanese refugee camps are more vulnerable to forced labor and child marriage than ever before. Syrian refugees in Lebanon live on less than $4 a day.

Jordan, considered one of the United States’ partners in alleviating the Syrian refugee crisis, has recently made breakthroughs to alleviate the dependence of refugees. As part of a compact deal that has increased international aid to Jordan, the country was able to issue more than 88,000 work permits to Syrians, allowing refugees the ability to meet their basic needs. Of the 655,000 Syrian refugees exiled in Jordan, approximately 80 percent of them live outside camps, living below the poverty line on less than $3 a day.

Recognizing the terror that Syrian refugees face by returning to their home country, the U.S. has decided to grant a TPS for Syrian refugees for 18 more months. This decision was directly influenced by the extraordinary conditions surrounding the ongoing armed conflict. The TPS for Syrian refugees only applies to those who have continuously resided in the U.S. since August 1, 2016, and have been continuously physically present in the United States since October 1, 2016. The designation of the TPS for Syrian refugees is subject to be renewed based on conditions in Syria after the 18-month period expires.

This TPS designation comes after years of abuse by Syria’s Assad regime, and extremist groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The crisis in Syria is by far the most tragic humanitarian crisis in the world today.

The U.S. government has spent nearly $6 billion on humanitarian assistance in response to the Syrian conflict. Funding supports the provision of emergency food, medicine, safe drinking water and other relief supplies to conflict-affected people in Syria and neighboring countries. This humanitarian aid comes in the form of cash for medicine and food, stoves and fuel for heating, insulation for tents, thermal blankets and winter clothing. Shelter kits, non-food items, protection services and psychosocial support are provided to those who have been displaced but remain in Syria.

International officials ministering to Syrian refugee camps state that more international aid is needed for humanitarian efforts to lift millions of Syrian refugees out of poverty.

– Alex Galante 

Photo: John Stanmeyer

Syrian Refugee Health CrisisBeginning in 2011, the Syrian Civil War has resulted in an influx of refugees, many of which fled to neighboring countries. Five million Syrians fled to Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and European countries. Approximately six and a half million remain internally displaced within Syria. As a result of war and civilian displacement, medical attention and healthcare have started to decline.

Prior to the civil war, Syria had a stable middle class and a relatively high socioeconomic status. Usually, countries of middle-class status tend to face a higher prevalence of non-communicable diseases such as hypertension, diabetes and cancer. Unfortunately, due to the war, relocation, crowding and poor sanitation, many of these illnesses remain untreated in Syria.

Syrian Refugee Health Crisis: Left Untreated

Ninety percent of Syrians are affected by non-communicable diseases. Many diseases, such as hypertension, diabetes and cancer are left unaddressed. This is the core of the Syrian refugee health crisis.

In order to access healthcare in host countries, refugees are required to obtain an identification card. Problems arise due to the inability of refugees to acquire the proper documentation. This is mainly due to the ongoing conflict in Syria. Nonetheless, over 500,000 refugees have found asylum in Jordan and a majority has gained the proper documentation for accessing medical treatment. Currently, 145,000 refugees remain without documents in Jordan.

Organizations Working to Address Healthcare Access

Primary care varies greatly based on the administering country and whether or not the patient lives in a camp or settlement. However, organizations are working to supply sufficient medical care for chronic and communicable diseases.

Syrians have received immunizations from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) upon arrival at settlements and camps. Part of the Vaccination Program for the U.S.-bound Refugees is administering select vaccines.

The World Health Organization is also working through partnerships to address nutritional health and raise funds for projects and initiatives. It is also strengthening the disease surveillance system outside refugee camps.

The John Hopkins Center for Refugee and Disaster Response

The students and faculty of the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health developed a symposium in 2015. Their work focuses on new research initiatives that propose solutions to the Syrian refugee health crisis.

The school’s Center for Refugee and Disaster Response is assessing Syrians’ basic needs regarding food, medicine and daily living items to provide data for assistance programs. This program also looks into the effectiveness of cash-based food programs for families suffering from non-communicable diseases.

By assessing the needs of Syrian refugees, government entities and other foundations can better manage the healthcare of people in need. Policies and donations can help address the needs of people seeking asylum to better solve the Syrian refugee health crisis.

– Bronti DeRoche

Photo: Flickr

Refugees in Ireland
The UN believes the world is experiencing the worst refugee crisis since World War II. At the end of 2015, 63.5 million refugees had been reported. That means that one out of every 113 people on the planet is a refugee. The tremendous number of people seeking refugee status is partially a result of the Syrian civil war and the long-standing war in Afghanistan. While Italy, Greece and Turkey initially received the most refugees, there are now more people coming to these shores than these countries can be expected to take in. Other European Union (EU) member nations are being asked to resettle some of these refugees. Ireland is one country that has agreed to do so. What is the refugee climate like in Ireland? Discussed below are the leading facts about refugees in Ireland.

 

Top 10 Facts About Refugees in Ireland

 

  1. A recent poll revealed that 87 percent of the Irish are sympathetic to Syrian refugees. Despite this, approximately one-third of the citizens are worried about the burden that Syrian refugees could place upon the welfare, education, healthcare and housing systems. One-fourth of the Irish were concerned that Syrian refugees could cost their government too much money.
  2. After countries like Turkey were struggling to accommodate the large influx of refugees safely, the European Commission devised a plan in which other EU member states would begin accepting pre-screened refugees. Ireland was not obligated to participate, but the country volunteered to receive up to 4,000 refugees. As of May 2017, Ireland has taken in 273 refugees.
  3. The top 10 countries of origin for refugees in Ireland are Syria, Pakistan, Albania, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Afghanistan, South Africa, Iraq, Libya and the Democratic Republic of Congo. A little more than half of the refugees are men; women and children almost equally make up the remainder.
  4. In 2016, Ireland received 2,245 applications for asylum from refugees. The country gave 20.8 percent of these people refugee status.
  5. The country is helping to relieve the crisis in additional ways. Ireland has deployed border patrol to Greece to aid in processing refugees. Ireland has also deployed naval ships to find and save refugees who leave their countries by sea. Often, ships carrying refugees are dangerously overcrowded, and they are sometimes shipwrecked. In 2015, the Irish Navy saved 8,592 refugees from the Mediterranean Sea.
  6. While refugees are awaiting status approval, they are housed by Ireland’s Reception and Integration Agency. Here they live in hostel-like settings. Typically, one family shares one room, and individuals are roomed with other refugees of the same sex. Most rooms have televisions, bathroom quarters are shared and meals are served on-site at specific times.
  7. Those awaiting refugee status in Ireland are not authorized to work, so the Irish government provides them with living stipends. Each adult receives €19.10 per week, and each child receives €15.60. This allowance is to cover any extra living expenses such as cell phones, internet service, clothes and toiletries.
  8. Primary and secondary education are provided for children awaiting refugee status. To attend a university they must pay the non-EU resident tuition fees, ranging from €9,750 for a business degree to €52,000 for a pre-medical degree. According to the Irish Refugee Council, this is usually unaffordable for a child seeking refugee status, whether or not they have support from their parents.
  9. On average, refugees in Ireland spend three to four years awaiting refugee status. Some have lived with the Reception and Integration Agency for 10 years.
  10. Each refugee in Ireland has his or her own story. George Labbad came to Ireland as a teenager from Aleppo, Syria in 2001 to learn English. Labbad eventually returned to Syria to attend a university, so he could take over the restaurant his family had owned for more than 30 years. After the Syrian civil war erupted, Labbad’s family was forced to close their restaurant, which had employed nearly 180 people. Eventually, all of Labbad’s family gained refugee status in Ireland. Labbad laments some, missing his home and the future he planned for, but he has made connections in Ireland and sees the country as his new home. Ireland is his future now.

With each refugee having a unique story, 10 facts about refugees in Ireland cannot begin to sum them all up. Some have left a family in their country of origin, while others have left loved ones in new EU countries. All the same, refugees remember what their homeland was to them while resettling in places like Ireland.

Mary Katherine Crowley

Photo: Flickr

Syrian Psychologists
Throughout the Syrian refugee crisis, physical care for refugees, such as the provision of medical attention, housing, and sustenance, has been a crucial concern. Mental health, however, is another facet that must be addressed. In response, two Syrian psychologists have made the mental health of Syrian refugees their concern.

In 2013, psychiatrists Andres Barkil-Oteo and Hussam Jefee-Bahloul met at Yale University, according to Huffington Post. They quickly discovered they had many of the same interests — one of which being the desire to find a way to utilize their mental health expertise to aid Syrians and Syrian refugees.

Although the two had left their homeland of Syria for psychiatry training in the U.S. before the major uprising in 2011, they still felt very connected to the crisis and wanted to find a way to help from abroad.

In 2014, the two friends worked together to create the Syrian Telemental Health Network, an online platform allowing experts and specialists around the world to train and assist mental health workers treating Syrians. The primary purpose of this platform is to address the rise of mental health problems among Syrians and the difficulties Syrian mental health workers are facing in treating them, both of which are repercussions of the Syrian war.

The remote network allows mental health workers in Syria to upload case information as well as video and audio recordings of patients to seek direction and help from specialists worldwide. Typically, this U.K.-based network sees about 10 to 15 cases each month. Because of the platform, knowledge from resources worldwide is brought to Syrian mental health workers, which is pertinent since mental health care has been in short supply within Syria.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), even before the conflict broke out, there were a mere 70 psychiatrists in Syria serving 21 million people. Only two public psychiatric hospitals existed: one at Damascus that now operates at partial capacity because of security concerns and one in Aleppo that is now closed.

While the Syrian Telemental Health Network has aided many Syrian mental health workers and refugees, there are still many more Syrians facing mental health disorders in need of treatment despite limited resources.

In a recent article by CCTV America, it is reported that WHO estimates approximately 600,000 Syrians are currently suffering from severe mental health disorders while an additional 4 million are suffering from mild to moderate mental health disorders.

These two Syrian psychologists remain dedicated to their mission and are currently seeking out more funding to put more resources into the platform to increase the numbers of mental health workers and victims being helped.

Since leaving Yale University, Jefee-Bahloul became an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts and Barkil-Oteo joined Doctors Without Borders to provide psychiatric care to refugees in Greece.

– Alex Fidler

Photo: Flickr

World Bank Group President
On September 24, 2016, it was announced that World Bank Group’s President Jim Yong Kim had been selected for a second term. Starting July 2017, Kim will continue leading The World Bank’s ongoing efforts to alleviate global poverty.

Founded in 1944, The World Bank began as an institution facilitating post-war reconstruction and development. At that time, The World Bank took on infrastructure projects to physically rebuild communities. Today, however, the organization has expanded its work to include myriad social projects.

Now, the multifaceted institution is comprised of economists, experts in public policy, social scientists and sector experts and has a portfolio of projects in agriculture, health, education and other areas of the social sector. Although reconstruction is still a focus, the group’s overlying goal is to reduce global poverty through sustainable and inclusive global prosperity.

When Jim Yong Kim, a South Korean-American physician and anthropologist, was originally elected to the presidency in 2012, The World Bank had set two bold goals: to eradicate global poverty by 2030 and to promote shared prosperity by boosting the income growth of the bottom 40 percent of the population in every developing country.

During his first term, Kim brought more structure, accountability and focus to The World Bank with clearer policies and targets, and efforts to meet those targets have been successful. Some of his greatest accomplishments came from dispersing the bank’s power and reallocating large amounts of its resources to combating climate change, addressing the Syrian refugee crisis and undertaking other initiatives that have not traditionally been within The World Bank’s scope.

He also gained much praise for his leadership in the Ebola outbreak, during which he allocated $400 million to combat the deadly virus in West Africa. Additionally, he implored the rest of the international community to invest in containing Ebola, even criticizing the World Health Organization (WHO) for its lax response.

The World Bank Group president also made a number of allies during his term, according to Africa News. When he voiced his intention to run for a second term, he gained endorsements from many countries, including South Korea, the Netherlands, Kenya, Rwanda, Togo and others.

Recognized worldwide for his invaluable experience and accomplishments prior to his election in 2012, Kim worked as an advisor to the director-general of WHO. He later rose to the position of director in WHO’s renowned HIV/AIDS department.

As he finishes his first term and looks forward to his second, one of Kim’s main focuses is making more progress toward the goal of eradicating global poverty by 2030.

-Alex Fidler

Photo: Flickr