Vatican funds job-creation project for refugees in Jordan

IMAGE: CNS photo/Jamal Nasrallah, EPA

By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Vatican is funding a job-creation
program for Iraqi refugees in Jordan, a country that is hosting close to 1.5
million refugees, but is struggling to provide work for them.

With $150,000 donated to the Vatican by visitors to its
pavilion at the World’s Fair in Milan in 2015, the Vatican will provide the
funding that Caritas Jordan needs to launch the project.

Fifteen Iraqi refugees will have full-time work cultivating,
producing and selling vegetables and oil, said a communique May 10 from the
Pontifical Council Cor Unum, the Vatican office which promotes and distributes
Catholic charity. The jobs will allow them to provide for their families and
become self-supporting, the office said.

Another 200 Iraqi refugees will be given training in
carpentry, agriculture and the food industry, Cor Unum said, and an additional
500 will be given seasonal employment.

Jordan currently is hosting about 130,000 Iraqi refugees, Cor
Unum said; many of the refugees fled their homes in Iraq after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of
their country and the capture of Saddam Hussein. Jordan also is hosting more
than 1.3 million Syrian refugees, making it even more difficult for any refugee
to find work.

Many refugees look for work and often accept jobs without
contracts, said Wael Suleiman,
director of Caritas Jordan. “But the market does not offer many

The project, which will be based at Caritas’ Our Lady of
Peace Center in Amman, was to be inaugurated May 12. After the initial funding
by the Vatican, it was hoped the products produced would earn enough for both
the workers’ salaries and future project costs.

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