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Seeking a Home, Running Out of Options

The Autumn edition of ONE features a dramatic and heartbreaking account of the Girguis family from Iraq. They managed to escape ISIS — but their ordeal was only beginning. Now living in Jordan, they are Running Out of Options:

They needed to pull up stakes once again — but this time with even less money — for the journey to Amman, the Jordanian capital. Under international law, individuals must cross a border into another country to be recognized as a refugee.

“We left Erbil for Amman in September 2019 with little money,” Mrs. Girguis explains. For that reason, the family had to travel overland by vehicles for some 20 hours, unable to afford plane tickets.

But in Jordan, they have encountered obstacles faced by all Iraqis who have taken refuge there; unlike their Syrian counterparts, Iraqi refugees are not permitted to work legally in Jordan.

“If it were possible to work here, that would be good,” Mr. Azza said, as the family spoke from their apartment in the Al Hashemi al Shamali district, where tens of thousands of Iraqi and Syrian refugees shelter in this crowded, impoverished area of Amman.

“But legal work is not permitted, and for that reason life is really difficult.

“What can we do? We are in this situation and have to deal with everything.”

Read more about their challenges here. And watch the video below.

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