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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Helping refugees in Jordan

This morning, the Pontifical Council Cor Unum and the Pontifical Council for Culture issued a statement in the name of the Holy Father, Pope Francis regarding aid for the creation of jobs for refugees in Jordan.

Statement of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum
and of the Pontifical Council for Culture

In deference to the will of the Holy Father, the funds raised within the Holy See's pavilion at the Milan Expo 2015 have been earmarked for the project entitled Promoting job opportunities for displaced Iraqis in Jordan, work that will be carried out by Caritas Jordan at the Saint Mary of Peace Centre in Amman.  The amount of money allocated to this initiative is $150,000, offered freely by the many people who visited the Holy See's exhibit at the Milan Expo 2015.

The plan, which was presented to the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, and evaluated in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for Culture, is an attempt to respond to the desire of Pope Francis to use the funds collected within the pavilion in order to help the less fortunate who are suffering as a result of the wars in Syria and in Iraq: namely refugees, their families and their children who can currently be found in large numbers in Jordan.

In fact, Jordan was one of the first countries to offer welcome: 130,000 Iraqis are currently there (almost 1.3% of the total population of the country), in addition to 1.3 million Syrians.  The figures increase if we also consider those who have not yet registered through the United Nations.  The director of Caritas Jordan, Wael Suleiman, has said that, despite the efforts of the local Church and government authorities, it is still extremely difficult for refugees to find work: Many of them are trying to live more dignified lives, often without contracts, but the market does not offer many opportunities.

In this sense, this project will help to secure regularly remunerated employment for 15 Iraqi refugees, in the production, preservation, cultivation and sale of oil and vegetables.  In addition to the 15 employees, their family members will also benefit, since they will be able to support themselves.  This project will also provide the possibility for professional training in carpentry, agriculture and the food industry for about 200 Iraqis, and thanks to the employment of casual workers, another 500 Iraqis will also be helped each year.  The allocated amount will cover expenses for the first six months, while the self-sufficiency stage should begin shortly afterward as a result of the sale of produce.

The project will be inaugurated on 12 May in the presence of the Under-secretary of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, Monsignor Segundo Tejado Muñoz, who will be travelling on a mission in Amman from 11 to 13 of this month.
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