Sakeena is a non-governmental, charitable, organization for orphans in Jordan. Our vision is to empower all orphans to enjoy life as an equal member of society.
Orphans, who are deprived from family ties in care centers or who have graduated from these centers, face various problems in Jordanian society. Most orphans are subject to severe physical and psychological abuse in addition to being neglected. As a result the majority of the graduates of these care centers are illiterate at the age of eighteen and suffer from various psychological problems for various reasons.
The problem does not stop at the individual level, however. While the state guarantees housing and care for orphans until the age of eighteen, care leavers are left to their own devices after they become ‘adults’.
Furthermore, as Jordanian society is structured around family units, being without a family makes life incredibly difficult. Most Jordanian men and women stay with their parents until they get married. It is the family, as opposed to the state, to which most Jordanian citizens turn when they have a problem. In this social context to be left without familial support at the age of 18 makes life extremely hard, if not almost impossible.
In addition, there are a lot of stereotypes and discrimination against orphans. Most Jordanians have no problem admitting that ‘they would never consent’ to their offspring marrying an orphan. Many people do not want care leavers to work for them or to rent their properties. It is difficult enough for a Jordanian to find a job at a time of economic crises, it is even harder for care leavers who lack networks and ‘wasta’ and do not have the familial safety-net to fall back onto.
As a result upon graduating from orphanages, most care leavers have great difficulty in finding jobs and housing. Having no resources of their own, this forces many graduated orphans to live on the streets, resort to petty crime or to prostitution. A study has shown that within the first year of leaving orphanages, 10% of all care leavers in Jordan attempt to commit suicide.
Orphanage care leavers thus face various problems. Firstly, they are in dire need of economic assistance. Moreover, they require housing and access to the labor market. In addition, many suffer from severe psychological problems which require immediate professional attention. On a societal level, orphans face legal and social discrimination..