Habitat for Humanity Jordan
Habitat's work in Jordan
Jordan News and Stories
The housing need in Jordan
Jordan is a Kingdom rich in history and culture, full of the remnants of ancient civilisations. Despite this turmoil in the Middle East has weakened the Jordanian economy, and with no oil and inadequate supplies of water the vast majority of Jordanians live on less than US$5,000 per year. Unemployment is high, especially in rural villages, where agriculture is a major source of employment. In the villages, families tend to have many children, and it is not uncommon for 12 to 15 family members to share a small two-room house. The lack of privacy increases family tension and makes it difficult for children to sleep and study. Women struggle to cook in makeshift kitchens with dirt floors. Without proper food storage cabinets, pests and rodents are a constant challenge. Unsanitary toilet facilities bring additional health risks.
Jordan is also facing an urban housing crisis. 80 percent of the population lives in cities, 63 percent in Amman, Zarqa and Irbid alone. Refugee inflows, continued migration to the cities and the high level of urban poverty have left large numbers of families without adequate shelter. These families suffer from problems including unsanitary conditions, sexual abuse and social alienation. Inadequate housing fosters a sense of helplessness and marginalization among the poor, most of who believe they are powerless to improve their living environments.
Habitat for Humanity in Jordan
HFH Jordan is currently working with 11 partner communities, called Jamaiat in Arabic. Here the average family consists of seven children. Habitat also works in urban communities in the Greater Amman area. Houses are made of cement blocks; the average home is 55 square meters. Each new house brings greater opportunities for families to lead safe, healthy and productive lives and also represents opportunities to build relationships across cultures, religions and classes, which consequently builds peace, as the houses themselves become symbols of cooperation and compassion.
A Habitat homeowner in the Greater Amman area said, “When I look at this house, I will remember all of the people from around the world who built it, and I will remember that there are good people all over the world.” In a region where relations are often fragile, building houses together creates a spirit of solidarity and a new understanding between families, their neighbors and volunteers from around the world.
Habitat Jordan hosts groups of international volunteers and local school and corporate groups to build houses with homeowner families. For many volunteers, the experience has been profound. One participant recounted, “When I left Jordan, I took with me a deeper sense of humanity, much stronger than the walls I helped build half a world away.”