Jordanians share Eid bounty with Syrian refugees

By Mohammed Ghazal in Amman

Workers from the Tkiyet Um Ali charity distribute food to refugees in northern Jordan during Eid al-Adha. [Photo courtesy of Tkiyet Um Ali]

Workers from the Tkiyet Um Ali charity distribute food to refugees in northern Jordan during Eid al-Adha. [Photo courtesy of Tkiyet Um Ali]

Syrian refugees living in and around Jordan's sprawling Zaatari camp benefited from the generosity of their Jordanian host community during Eid al-Adha last week, when a large quantity of meat from sacrificial animals was delivered to the camp.

The communities surrounding the camp have shared meat with their Syrian neighbours during the feast each year since the establishment of the camp.

But the amount of meat distributed this year dramatically increased compared to recent years, Zaatari municipality head Abdul-Karim al-Khalidi told Al-Mashareq.

"Since Syrian refugees are living in difficult circumstances, it has been customary, since the arrival of refugees to the camp in 2012, that a big part of sacrificial animals is distributed there," he said.

Many charities and people of means in the area distribute meat from sacrificial livestock to the poor, including residents of the local refugee camp, which accommodates more than 80,000 Syrians, he said.

"The refugees have become part of the community here, and people greatly feel for them and sympathise with them," he said, adding that residents were eager to deliver joy to refugees through the distribution of sacrifice animals during Eid.

The municipality prepared many dedicated locations during Eid in order to facilitate the slaughter of sacrificial animals and help ensure the cleanliness of the process, al-Khalidi said.

The price of livestock ranged between 120 and 200 Jordanian dinars ($170 to $282), he said.

Meat is a luxury in the camp

Many Zaatari residents told Al-Mashareq they were grateful to the charities and individuals who donated and distributed meat to them during the holiday.

"My children felt great joy when I prepared their favourite meat and rice dish on the third day of Eid," said mother-of-four Amal Salloum, who has been living in the camp since 2012.

"The aid that we periodically receive from the UN and supporting entities is only enough to buy basic needs such as rice and vegetables," she told Al-Mashareq.

Salloum buys meat only when she leaves the camp to work at nearby farms, where she earns a daily wage of up to five dinars ($7) when work is available, she said.

Syrian refugees are sad about spending another Eid away from their country, said Abdullah Hraki, a Zataari resident who lives at the camp with his wife, five children and his mother.

Yet, "we feel a warm reception here and many families show us their sympathy," he told Al-Mashareq.

"Receiving sacrifice specifically during Eid brings delight to us," he added. "We as parents thank everyone helping us and sharing the joy of Eid."

Sharing with most in need

When Syrian refugees first began to arrive at the camp, local Jordanians began allocating a portion of the Eid sacrificial meat to them, said Mafraq resident and supermarket owner Mashoor al-Jabour.

"I sacrifice every year, and I do not consider the joy to be full, except when I share with the poor and needy," he said.

"Our brothers and sisters, the Syrian refugees, are the most in need of help, and it is a good feeling to share the joy of Eid with them," he added.

In addition to the large quantities of meat distributed inside Zaatari, al-Jabour said, more quantities also were distributed to refugees living outside the camp in Mafraq governorate.

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