The harbour town of Aqaba, located on the southern coast of Jordan, near the border with Israel, is home to over
95, 000 inhabitants.
Aqaba benefits from its coastal location and status within Jordan's special economic zone. The city’s economy is largely based on tourism and port industry sector.
However, life here can be incredibly tough, especially for the thousands of refugees and the younger generation who are struggling to find employment.
Since 1991, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Aqaba.
Not everyone in Aqaba benefits from the wealth that tourists bring to the region. Refugees do not have Jordanian citizenship and therefore do not benefit from social services such as health care and free education.
Young people in particular struggle to find employment due to a lack of jobs that match university qualifications and skills.
In some areas, there are some cultural obstacles to women’s full integration into the labour market: only 14% of women work. This limits women’s prospects and puts them at risk of early marriage and exploitation.
People who have been displaced and refugees are at great risk of poverty and deprivation.
Around 90% of Syrian refugees in Jordan are hungry. For children, this situation is particularly difficult as they are not only torn from their homes and the environment, they are familiar with, but many of them have experienced violence and traumatic events.
Refugee families find it hard to find shelter, work, and enough food to survive. An increasing number are forced to beg for money.