SOS Children's Villages started working in Jordan in the 1980s. At first, our organisation was present in Amman and over the following decades, it also began supporting children, young people and families in the harbour town of Aqaba and in the northern city of Irbid.
Thousands of children in Amman need support
Children in care are free to play outside (photo: SOS archives).
Amman is the capital of Jordan and, with a population of over 2.9 million, it is also the country’s largest city. It is situated in the north-west of the country near the border with the West Bank. The city’s population has been expanding rapidly over the last decade and is expected to continue doing so, mainly due to the great influx of migrants and refugees. In fact, Jordan’s population is one of the fastest growing in the world. In Amman, this rapid urbanisation has put a strain on the city’s water supplies, and urban planning was not sufficiently in place to ensure decent living conditions for all of the city’s residents.
Thousands of refugees fled Syria and arrived in Jordan in search of safety. Most of them crossed the border illegally and were in urgent need of support when they reach Jordan. Zaatari, the largest refugee camp in Jordan, where over 200,000 Syrians live in tents, is 1.5 hours away from the city of Amman. For children, this situation is particularly difficult as they are not only torn from their homes and the environment they are familiar with, but many of them have experienced violence and traumatic events.
Efforts to support the entire community in a holistic manner
The first SOS Children’s Village in Jordan was opened in 1986 in Amman. Today, the SOS Social Centre here serves the residents of the Children’s Village as well as members of the local community and hosts a range of activities. Our social centre here provides a family strengthening programme, which aims to support families in a holistic and sustainable manner. Children can participate in workshops, for example to improve their handwriting in Arabic, or receive extra tuition in school subjects they are struggling with.
In addition, a general medical check-up is offered on a “free health day” and we also provide counselling and psychological support to our children and young adults, our co-workers and mothers, and members of the community.
What we do in Amman
Off to school! (photo: SOS archives).
In addition to the family-strengthening programme mentioned above we provide the following support:
Family-based care: For children from the region who are no longer able to live with their parents, twelve SOS families can provide a loving home for up to 108 children. In each family, the children live with their brothers and sisters, affectionately cared for by their SOS mother.
Education: Around 160 children, mostly from the neighbourhood, but also some from the children’s village attend the SOS Kindergarten, ensuring that children from SOS families make friends and are integrated into the local community from a young age. The provision of day-care is particularly valued by parents who need to go out to work or look for a job during the day, as they can leave their children in safe hands.
Support to young people: When young people who grew up in one of the SOS families feel ready to move out of home in order to study, receive training or work, the SOS Youth Programme continues to support them as they make the transition into independent adulthood.