When Amal fled Syria with her three young children she brought only what she had could carry for the long journey ahead.
Each child had just two changes of clothes - everything else had been left behind.
“We used to have a car, a shop and a house,” she says, sitting on the floor in a barely furnished room in the Jordanian capital, Amman.
Amal is just one of the many thousands of Syrian refugee women who are the head of their household due to the decade-long civil war. Amal’s husband was killed when the bus he was travelling in was hit by a bomb.
Over 80 per cent of Syrian refugees live in urban areas of Jordan. They have to find money for all the usual living expenses such as rent, food, school supplies and medical expenses.
But for women, it’s difficult to secure work. Since 2016, only four per cent of refugee work permits have gone to women.
Without a regular income, many women are forced to borrow money which leaves them vulnerable to exploitation by unscrupulous agents or landlords, or they resort to other negative coping strategies such as restricting their own food so their children can eat.
Children often stay home from school when money is tight so that their families can save on the cost of books and transport. There are 233,000 school-age Syrian refugee children in Jordan but only 136,000 of them attend formal education.
Schooling is important to Amal, who takes obvious pride in her children’s drawings.
When she learnt that she would receive financial support from UNHCR, Amal set aside part of the money to cover their school expenses. The rest of the funds she receives through the cash assistance programme pays for her rent and nutritious food for her children.
Without the constant worry about living costs, Amal can help build a better future for herself and her family.
Without financial support, Fatima's son couldn't get the cancer treatment he needs
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.