Breaking Barriers: a bus service paves the way for education equality in Jordan
11 April 2023
Since 2019, refugee registration in Jordan has been subject to many restrictions that make it difficult to be granted refugee status. Because of this, many find themselves in a very vulnerable situation, unable to get any of the support that is granted to registered refugees.
JRS centres in Amman are a place of welcome and encounter, where people are served based on their needs regardless of the papers they hold. Refugees coming from different places, such as Sudan, Syria, Somalia, Yemen, Iraq, and Eritrea, meet together to learn, study, and support each other.
Fathia is from Sudan and she is studying English at JRS because she wants to teach it to children, and, if she goes back to Sudan, to even more children there. She says “I take the bus because it’s safe, and because it’s financial support, it helps us a lot. If there were no bus, it would be very difficult, because I don’t have enough money, so I wouldn’t be able to come here”.
Amman doesn’t have a public transportation system across the entire city, and people rely on taxis to move around most of the time. For many of the JRS students, covering the transportation fees to reach the centre is a burden they cannot afford. To respond to this need, JRS’s Pathfinder Programme offers a bus service, with different lines that cross the city to pick up the students and bring them to the centres in a safe and affordable manner.
Mona is from Iraq and moved to Jordan in 2018. She is 20 years old and she is studying English in the evening shift twice a week. She lives in a neighbourhood far from the JRS centres. “If there weren’t night buses, I wouldn’t be able to come alone in the evening. And my parents feel safe that I am coming and going back by bus. I really appreciate that there are buses to support us”.
Indeed, it’s not just about the money. Many of the women attending the course feel that this service provides them a safe and secure way to come to the centres. Especially the students attending the evening classes prefer to take the bus instead of a taxi, where occasionally harassment can happen.
JRS’s Protection and MHPPS programme is aware of the daily struggles refugees face and that often prevent them from attending sessions and classes. This is why JRS created a daycare service, where students and participants to the projects can leave their children in a safe and playful environment. “Without the day care I wouldn’t be able to attend the classes. We are here alone, we don’t have anyone else”, says Roghaia, who recently arrived in Jordan from Sudan. She feels reassured that she can leave her 2-year-old child in a safe space along with other children while she studies English.