Women carve soap in Za'atari refugee camp to protect people from coronavirus
Location icon Jordan

Making soap no drama amid coronavirus crisis

Syrian refugees put business skills to use

Hovering over saucepans brimming with brightly coloured soap, women in Jordan’s Za’atari camp are doing what they can to keep their families and neighbours safe.

 

As they carefully pour the hot liquid into trays for setting, it seems this has become a labour of love as well as necessity.

“We add different ingredients like colours, perfumes and alcohol to turn them into a product that cleans and sanitises the hand,” says Um Mustafa, manager of ‘Made by Za’atari’, a UNHCR training program for women.

They use local and natural materials to make the soap, which they then give away to families in need.

There are no confirmed cases of coronavirus among Syrian refugees in Jordan’s camps so far, but we’re planning ahead.

Local hospitals and clinics are fully staffed and have introduced infection-control methods, such as isolation and emergency ambulance services.

 

Women in Jordan’s largest refugee camp are making soap for families to keep them safe from COVID-19.

UNHCR staff are using awareness sessions and regular text-message updates to drive home the importance of prevention measures.

“Sanitation and hygiene levels are not ideal. We’re talking about a refugee camp, and facilities are challenging,” said Mohammad Tahir, a UNHCR field worker.

“A large portion of the population are children, and it’s hard to make them understand the need for isolation and extra handwashing.”

That is why the soap project is so useful, says Za’atari camp manager Irene Omondi.

“During this time, these women are giving back to the community, making soap, sharing with their neighbours and sharing the message of having good hygiene practises.”

Women carve soap in Za'atari refugee camp to protect people from coronavirus
‘Made by Za’atari’ is a UNHCR training program for women,  and they're making soap for refugee families. ©️ UNHCR/M. Hawari

Related Stories

View all stories
Women carve soap in Za'atari refugee camp to protect people from coronavirus
Location icon
Jordan

Making soap no drama amid coronavirus crisis

Syrian refugees put business skills to use

Hanaa and her two daughters sit on a bed
Location icon
Jordan

Hanaa's Story

‘Without cash assistance, I would struggle to survive’

Fatima with four of her children
Location icon
Jordan

‘How cash assistance saved my son'

Without financial support, Fatima's son couldn't get the cancer treatment he needs

Our fundraising commitment

The majority of funds raised by Australia for UNHCR are directed to UNHCR’s emergency operations, providing the ready funds and resources to respond quickly and effectively in situations of crisis and disaster.

78%
Humanitarian programs
12%
Admin
10%
Funding