Help 4 Refugees

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Sat down and talked with the Chief of the Royal Hashemite Court (the office of the King of Jordan) this past week. It was great learning the human side of negotiations from this man. He told me that even when YOU THINK you are sitting across from your foe, you must always be willing to greet him or her with a smile, then a handshake, and then if they offer you coffee don’t be afraid to say yes. Then this foe turns into your friend and then even peace negotiations are possible.

Sat down and talked with the Chief of the Royal Hashemite Court (the office of the King of Jordan) this past week. It was great learning the human side of negotiations from this man. He told me that even when YOU THINK you are sitting across from your foe, you must always be willing to greet him or her with a smile, then a handshake, and then if they offer you coffee don’t be afraid to say yes. Then this foe turns into your friend and then even peace negotiations are possible.

Jul 3
My dad has always told me that if you really want something done a certain way, you must do it yourself.
It was not an easy task to get these caravans to refugee families…the toughest day since my struggles in South Sudan over 3 years ago.
We had to meet with 3 of the top 5 camp officials in order to get clearance for the delivery of these caravans to the randomly selected families I identified. The UN has a policy of delivering caravans to the outskirts of the camp and putting refugees in them in future weeks (even months). My aim was to get two refugee families in the caravans the same day and deliver the caravans to the same location that there tent is in. In the end, I was able to push through with my goal. I don’t know if it was the best way, but  it was sure a learning experience. After seeing how the camp has had trouble distributing in the past, I was not ready to leave the caravans until I saw the two Syrian families in their new home. I wish I could say “mission accomplished” but the humanitarian crisis is long from over. We must keep listening to what the refugees want and find out how we can best assist the children and women so they can get through this catastrophe. After all, we must be our brother’s and sister’s keepers if we are to survive beside one another.

My dad has always told me that if you really want something done a certain way, you must do it yourself.

It was not an easy task to get these caravans to refugee families…the toughest day since my struggles in South Sudan over 3 years ago.

We had to meet with 3 of the top 5 camp officials in order to get clearance for the delivery of these caravans to the randomly selected families I identified. The UN has a policy of delivering caravans to the outskirts of the camp and putting refugees in them in future weeks (even months). My aim was to get two refugee families in the caravans the same day and deliver the caravans to the same location that there tent is in. In the end, I was able to push through with my goal. I don’t know if it was the best way, but  it was sure a learning experience. After seeing how the camp has had trouble distributing in the past, I was not ready to leave the caravans until I saw the two Syrian families in their new home. I wish I could say “mission accomplished” but the humanitarian crisis is long from over. We must keep listening to what the refugees want and find out how we can best assist the children and women so they can get through this catastrophe. After all, we must be our brother’s and sister’s keepers if we are to survive beside one another.

Jul 3
2 caravans delivered to two random families in Zaatari! After a tough day of getting the caravans to the people, we finally got the caravans to the intended target, the refugees who have endured so much in order to flee Syria.
9 months ago, the refugees overwhelming voiced to me that their biggest need is better housing. Come winter, the family pictured above along with the other family (which includes 5 children) will be safe from the deadly cold weather.
I have read that we as humans are meant to be at the crossroads where our greatest passion meets the world’s greatest needs. I feel as though this project might have led me to these crossroads. With the help of my generous friends and family back home, we have come together to  meet the refugees’ demands.

2 caravans delivered to two random families in Zaatari! After a tough day of getting the caravans to the people, we finally got the caravans to the intended target, the refugees who have endured so much in order to flee Syria.

9 months ago, the refugees overwhelming voiced to me that their biggest need is better housing. Come winter, the family pictured above along with the other family (which includes 5 children) will be safe from the deadly cold weather.

I have read that we as humans are meant to be at the crossroads where our greatest passion meets the world’s greatest needs. I feel as though this project might have led me to these crossroads. With the help of my generous friends and family back home, we have come together to  meet the refugees’ demands.

Jul 1

A Plane overhead

A Syrian woman, age 37, hasn’t heard from her husband this year, yet she remains optimistic. As she was explaining the ordeal she went through last week in Damascus, she came to an abrupt halt in speech and listens to the plane we hear overhead. I waited for her to continue but instead she buried her head in her hands and began to wipe away newly formed tears. Moments later she explains how each plane that flies overhead reminds her of the routine bombings in her village and the fear she cannot let go of.

This woman lost her mom, dad, and all but one of her sisters in a series of three bombs that hit her house. She grabbed her three children and the four of them are the sole survivors from their family’s house. There were no men living in her house. “What is the sin of my elderly parents and caring sisters?” I did not have the answer, nor does anyone. As I type this, I feel the burden of her tragedy. We must not let countless families like hers continue to be ripped apart.

For the sake of being scared to give out her name and fearful that more harm could be done to her family, she asked that we not take pictures, videos, or take down her name. Unfortunately this woman’s story is all too common in Zaatari. I hope she can find peace in her grief and hearing her story makes me feel guilty that nothing has changed inside Syria since I listened to the accounts of tortures while I was in Zaatari last year.

Despite the grimness of her situation she clings on to hope the war will end and spare her dear friends that remain in Syria.

Jul 1
Reunion at Zaatari Refugee Camp

Last Monday I returned to Zaatari for the first time in over six months. Zaatari has changed a lot since my last set of ventures to the camp in Northern Jordan. When I left Zaatari back in December it housed 55,000 Syrians. Now, over 130,000 Syrians call Zaatari home.  I wish I could say it’s there temporary home, but it looks more and more like Zaatari could be there permanent home for some time.

Reunion at Zaatari Refugee Camp

Last Monday I returned to Zaatari for the first time in over six months. Zaatari has changed a lot since my last set of ventures to the camp in Northern Jordan. When I left Zaatari back in December it housed 55,000 Syrians. Now, over 130,000 Syrians call Zaatari home.  I wish I could say it’s there temporary home, but it looks more and more like Zaatari could be there permanent home for some time.

Jul 1
Last weekend I got the opportunity to attend the opening ceremony of the Syrian American Medical Society Internationals conference in Amman, Jordan. Most of those attending were doctors from war-torn Syria, the host country of Jordan, and the United States. At the end of the night I got to talk to the current US Ambassador to the Jordan and share with him about our caravan project and our college-led awareness campaign back in the States.

Last weekend I got the opportunity to attend the opening ceremony of the Syrian American Medical Society Internationals conference in Amman, Jordan. Most of those attending were doctors from war-torn Syria, the host country of Jordan, and the United States. At the end of the night I got to talk to the current US Ambassador to the Jordan and share with him about our caravan project and our college-led awareness campaign back in the States.

Beverly Hills of Jordan

The other night I sprnt in Dabouq with a new friend made from a connection at the Orange County World back home.

I met with Haitham Talli, a Jordanian American who has his own company here in Jordan which is focused on renewable energy.

At the end of my time at his house he told me that he turned down dinner with the Prime Minister to meet me this night. It turns out he was not a big fan of his but it still meant a lot to me that he took the time to meet and connect me with Dominque, the head of UNICEF here in Jordan. It wasn’t a meeting with the King, but the hospitality and how he treated me like family sure made me feel like it.

Bought Caravans

With the donations from our friends and family in the U.S. I was able to purchase 2 caravans this week in Amman, Jordan.

Tomorrow I will return to Zaatari Refugee Camp. I look forward to reuniting with the family I became so close. Then the challenging process begins, trying to decide which refugee families to provide a caravan shelter for.

I am sure I will second guess who I give the caravans to, but I try to remind myself of a quote which keeps me going:

“You can’t do everything, but you can do something.”

Jordan reaching Jordan

I am now in Jordan and managed to scavenger for internet. We were able to fundraise $5,000 in just one week which will provide two prefabricated housing units for vulnerable refugee families in Zaatari. I know we haven’t delivered them yet, but this is a dream come true for me.

You ever seen a situation and been devastated by it? That was me in Zaatari Refugee Camp (7 miles due south of Syria) last fall. I saw the dismal conditions and thought how can I change this. Thanks to all our donors, a couple of college students now have the ability to change this humanitarian crisis for at least two families. I am excited to return the hospitality to the families which gave me so much when they had so little.

Before our team gets to Jordan, I will be putting a down payment on the prefabricated housing units so the supplier will have the two houses ready by the end of the month. Some details on what a prefab house includes:

-3 meters by 5 meters crate structure

-2 windows, a door, and protection on the window

-floor covered by gum

-made of iron edge 10, with a hole in the floor so you can clean

Za’tari Refugee Camp Part 2
As I embark on my second journey to the Za’tari refugee camp (at the Syria/Jordan border), much has changed. After talking to the refugees last fall I have a new sense of clarity of what the refugees need. After three months of sharing in the refugees struggles they asked for two things: (1) better housing and (2) to share their stories with the world.
Objective of our trip: meet the refugees two greatest needs.
(1) Today we launch our fundraising campaign for prefabricated housing units which we ourselves will deliver to the most vulnerable refugees in Za’tari. 
 (2) I have assembled a dedicated team of young humanitarians/journalists to ensure that the refugees voices are heard. Our team consists of:
Deric Mendes, the creator of BoldTypeMag.com, is a veteran journalist and photographer. With his expertise, he will help our team humanize the conflict and bring new life to the refugees’ testimonies through blogs, articles, and photography. 
Melissa Diamond, is a humanitarian and founder of A Global Voice for Autism. In the refugee camp she will tackle the mental health issues that refugees are coping with as a result of the Syrian war. 
Stay tuned for updates as we travel, tell stories, and deliver aid in an effort to alleviate some of the suffering our Syrian brothers and sisters are enduring.
All the best,
Jordan Hattar

Za’tari Refugee Camp Part 2

As I embark on my second journey to the Za’tari refugee camp (at the Syria/Jordan border), much has changed. After talking to the refugees last fall I have a new sense of clarity of what the refugees need. After three months of sharing in the refugees struggles they asked for two things: (1) better housing and (2) to share their stories with the world.

Objective of our trip: meet the refugees two greatest needs.

(1) Today we launch our fundraising campaign for prefabricated housing units which we ourselves will deliver to the most vulnerable refugees in Za’tari.

 (2) I have assembled a dedicated team of young humanitarians/journalists to ensure that the refugees voices are heard. Our team consists of:

Deric Mendes, the creator of BoldTypeMag.com, is a veteran journalist and photographer. With his expertise, he will help our team humanize the conflict and bring new life to the refugees’ testimonies through blogs, articles, and photography.

Melissa Diamond, is a humanitarian and founder of A Global Voice for Autism. In the refugee camp she will tackle the mental health issues that refugees are coping with as a result of the Syrian war.

Stay tuned for updates as we travel, tell stories, and deliver aid in an effort to alleviate some of the suffering our Syrian brothers and sisters are enduring.

All the best,

Jordan Hattar