Mahbud, 69, and Hisham, 52, Jordan

Over two years of war have had a devastating impact on many Syrian families and left more than four million people in need of aid.


Many have fled to neighbouring countries, including Jordan. Refugee camps, such as Zaatari camp in northern Jordan are stretched to capacity.

Mahbud, 69 and his son Hisham, 52 now live in Zaatari camp in Jordan. Mahbud is partially paralysed and cannot chew the food provided in the camp.

(c) Amandine Allaire/HelpAge International

Mahbud, 69 and his son Hisham, 52 now live in Zaatari camp in Jordan. Mahbud is partially paralysed and cannot chew the food provided in the camp.

HelpAge, in partnership with Handicap International, is assisting older, disabled and other vulnerable refugees in Jordan and Lebanon.


Hisham said: "He's my father, I will help him, no matter what."

Mahbud and Hisham crossed the Syrian border to escape the conflict and now live in Zaatari camp. Mahbud is 69; he cannot speak and is partially paralysed due to a stroke. In addition to this, he must go to the hospital for dialysis twice a week.

Hisham, his son, who is 52, decided to leave his country, leaving behind 12 brothers, to transport his father to a safer place. They arrived from Daraa to the border by car and had to walk few metres to cross the border.

Living in Zaatari camp


As soon as they were on the Jordanian side, they were taken to Mafraq hospital in an ambulance. Hisham's father was hospitalised for five days, his son staying with him the whole time.

Mahbud and Hisham are now living in a caravan in the camp, close to Hisham's daughter. They received mattresses and blankets from UNHCR but they refused to be registered to get a ration card.

They said: "It's a waste of time, you have to wait out there, it's crowded... and only for two kilos of rice!"

They share the food ration destined for Hisham's daughter family of four. But Mahbud cannot chew and needs special food. So Hisham buys some fruits and vegetables in the market in Zaatari, and blends them for his father, when there is electricity to do so.

Lack of facilities and electricity


Hisham doesn't know which services are available in the camp. He did say that the priority should be to the bathrooms and kitchens accessible. The existing ones are crowded and dirty. The lack of gas and electricity is also a major obstacle for him to take care of his father.

As his father is bedridden, he needs additional items, like blankets. In their caravan, they have three mattresses and four blankets. Besides the blender which cannot be used without electricity, they have no other possessions.

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