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How to Help Urban Refugees

An organization based in Amman, Jordan, takes a psychological approach to aiding Syrian and Iraqi refugees.
This Syrian refugee family left Jordan's Zaatari camp to live in Amman.
This Syrian refugee family left Jordan's Zaatari camp to live in Amman.Courtesy of the Collateral Repair Project

The Syrian war has brought about an exodus of epic proportions. Almost five million Syrians—more than a fifth of the country’s pre-war population—have fled, mainly to neighboring states such as Jordan, which hosts more than half a million of them. The vast majority do not live in rural refugee camps: Nearly 80 percent of Syrian refugees in Jordan are urban, with almost 30 percent of that group living in the capital city, Amman. Jordan also hosts around 60,000 Iraqi asylum seekers, 90 percent of whom live in Amman.

In 2016, as the global refugee crisis persisted, with repercussions for the United States, Canada, and other countries, a small aid organization in Amman dubbed the Collateral Repair Project (CRP) continued its work helping thousands who have fled to Jordan’s capital. CRP offers a template for aiding refugees in that it fills both material and psychological needs. Such an approach to the whole person will be crucial going forward as the conflicts in Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere show no sign of letting up.