Making Home Away

So I sat them down and told them: the five of us are here, me, you and your father, wherever the five of us are, that place should be your heaven.
Discover their stories


Current 'Home' Jordan

Nehal talks about her experiences of hardship in the camp and her concern for her children's safety:

"Any time the children heard the sound of bombing outside, they got very scared. My children were psychologically disrupted by everything that was going on. So we decided to leave Syria, to go somewhere safe. The easiest and fastest place to escape to was Jordan. We came here, and (at first) the situation was bad in the camp, because it was still in its first phases. We barely had water to drink or food to eat.  We had to walk a long way to fetch water, and to bathe the children. Even the bathroom situation was very bad, because we had communal bathrooms shared by tens of people."

Jordanian refugee camp, 2019. Image by Yasmine Shamma

"Though when we thought about it, it was better that we stayed in a place with fewer resources and were safe, than to go back to Syria and risk being tortured or murdered.  Safety was our number one priority. We thought that we would be staying (here) for a maximum of four months, but here we are four years later."

Concerns for women's safety within refugee camps have led some product designers to propose creative solutions to issues such as walking from tents to distant - and shared - bathroom facilities at night.  However, this feeds into wider arguments surrounding the trend within design and architecture for, 'gimmicky solutions to the refugee crisis such as shelters, apps and emergency clothing' when what is really required is a more positive narrative around population movement, and design for inclusive and welcoming cities around the world in which refugees can be safely and warmly received.


This extract is from an interview conducted by YASMINE SHAMMA during 2019 as part of the British Academy funded ‘Lost and Found: A Digital Archive of Migration, Displacement and Resettlement’  project’s Making Home Away archive.


Current 'Home'


Current 'Home'