A Glimpse of Hope: The Impact of Social Services at CVT Jordan | The Center for Victims of Torture

A Glimpse of Hope: The Impact of Social Services at CVT Jordan

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Ahmad Al-Shouly is the social services manager at CVT Jordan.

As social services manager at CVT Jordan, I am always hunting. I need to seize every available opportunity to make a change for our clients. There is always something new – a new challenge or chance to make a difference.

Most of the time, CVT psychosocial counselors or physiotherapists present new cases to our social workers, who conduct full social assessments to see where CVT can help. I verify all of the details before referring a case to the appropriate service provider. When CVT Jordan began doing social work, most of the referrals we received were for financial support.

Now, however, there are so many other areas of need. For example, we recently provided – indirectly - 85 refugee students from Iraq, Syria and South Sudan with winter clothing. This is not the kind of care you might expect from CVT. But a third-party private company wanted to work with us. The company heard about CVT through our partner organizations and is now assisting our child beneficiaries. 

This seasonal support is very helpful for students, who are 6 – 12 years old and getting ready for winter. They received jackets, gloves, scarves and hats. Resources for refugees in Jordan are dwindling, so an emerging program of this kind is essential.

Some refugee families don’t send their children to school. CVT takes a closer look and asks, why not? We consult with UNHCRUNICEF and Save the Children and then we help the children return. Challenges include financial limitations, as well as lack of identification and legal documents. Without a birth certificate you can’t enroll in school. Another major barrier is bullying. We support the students by conducting interviews with the focal persons at UNHCR, UNICEF and Save the Children. Then the kids go back.

For Iraqi children, the problem is particularly bad. Many families fear that they will be evicted from their homes if they cannot pay their rent, so they don’t pay the school fees and their children stay home. We work with individual donors and cash assistance programs to help Iraqi families pay their rent, which frees up the families’ limited funds so they can afford school.

To build strong relationships with partner organizations we need to be familiar with their criteria for services, and we must understand the circumstances of our beneficiaries well so we can effectively advocate for them. We’ve become adept at recognizing opportunities and challenges, and we assess cases closely to ensure that a very high percentage will be addressed. These cases typically involve protections, education, health issues, financial aid and psychosocial care.

We at the social serivces program always have our data prepared for any medical organizations visiting Jordan, such as Chain of Hope, and refer cases based on the nature of each medical mission. We also work with human rights lawyers like Jayne Fleming, who leads the human rights practice at global law firm Reed Smith and received CVT’s 2017 Eclipse Award. But we will only refer cases to her when we’re certain they meet the criteria for the kind of care she champions.

The CVT social workers’ duty phones are open on the weekends and holidays. You never know when a client will need immediate help. I remember one day I received a call from a client whose husband was having a heart attack. He needed to be evacuated from Aqaba to Amman, about a four-hour drive. She knew that even though it was a holiday, she could call my CVT cell phone, and we were there. We made the arrangements in close coordination with a UNCHR mobile unit at Al-Karak city for her husband’s transportation to Amman, where he received care.

Later, the woman visited me and said, “If it weren’t for CVT, I don’t know what I would have done that day. I don’t know what would have happened to my husband.” Her words underscored the most profound aspect of social services work at CVT Jordan: providing a glimpse of hope to those who need it most.


Funding for CVT’s work in Jordan is provided by the United States Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration and the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture.



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