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Image: Lara sorting out second hand clothing for Iraqi refugees in Jordan in OD-supported boutique (project)

Giving Iraqi refugees – most of them Christians – a restored sense of dignity: that is the goal of an Open Doors-supported second-hand clothing boutique for refugees that opened its doors in Jordan’s capital Amman. With your support this shop helps Iraqi’s on the run to “get back to normal life”.

We are visiting this Open Doors-supported project from the NGO Al-Hadaf: a Jordanian initiative run by Christians. It aims at serving and restoring the dignity of Iraqi refugees who fled from ISIS and are temporarily living in Jordan. This place feels like an ordinary clothing shop in the Middle East; and that is exactly the intention, as staff worker Lara shares how Al-Hadaf works with refugees, orphans and underprivileged people in Jordan:

“In general [we work with] people who have less luck than others. We train them, we help them to recover from the shock they went through. We support them in their relational needs, train life skills and in general help them get back to normal life.”

Iraqi Christian refugees are one of the groups Al-Hadaf serves. “The refugees need to eat, to dress, and to have their basic needs cared for, while they wait for their resettlement”, Lara shares. Many refugees who travel to Jordan have the intention to migrate to other countries. This is a process that can take years.

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Shameful situation

Most Iraqi refugees don’t have income, clothes and other basic needs. That is why Al-Hadaf started collecting second-hand clothes for them. “When people bring these in, they just put them in garbage bags – some of the clothes are torn or are still dirty,” Lara says. “For many Iraqi refugees, having fled from good families and good situations, that is a shameful situation. They find it hard to accept the clothes that way.”

That is why Al-Hadaf opened the boutique. “Just like in a real boutique they can come here to shop, to choose the clothes they really like, to try them on and to shop with dignity. This way, we can help to restore the dignity that was taken from them.”

Walking through the boutique, Lara points out, “All these clothes are all donated by people in Jordan. When we receive their donations we first remove the torn clothes. Then we wash or dry-clean the good clothes and hang them here. There are pants, skirts, bags and boots, but also small stuff like accessories. All presented in a proper way.”

Safe place

‘Buying’ clothes here is free for the refugees. With the support of Open Doors, they receive coupons that represent a certain value, based on their situation and family size. With those coupons they ‘pay’ for the clothes. Lara says this also helps them to feel human again: being able to make transactions helps them feel accepted again, after losing everything. “This is a safe place for them where they can shop, have a good time and feel like a normal member of society again.”

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If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. (1 Corinthians 12:26)

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