Portrait of a woman in a beige hijab.

Made by me.

Seven years ago, Abeer Almnajed and her family fled the war in Syria. Their beautiful house with the large terrace had been destroyed along with Abeer’s business – the beauty salon on the ground floor. The work as a seamstress in Amman gives hope for a better future and reminds Abeer of the career she left behind.

“I loved my work in Damascus. Applying makeup is an art, it’s like drawing. The same is true for embroidering. Both needs light hands and patience.”

The job as a seamstress for Jordan River Foundation has another benefit – it makes it possible for Abeer to work from home so she’s around when her son and daughter come home from school.

“My children are my life, I want to be close to them.  The best part of my day is when their homework is done and the three of us have time to hang out together. We love drawing, and we listen to music and dance.”

A person holding a glass of coffee leaning on a checked cushion.

Two children playing in front of various clothes hanging to dry outside on a rooftop.

Sometimes Abeer still dreams of returning to the house in Damascus. But she tries not to dwell too much on the past. Still, there are some memories that are more painful than others. Like the last time they left their house and Abeer’s son asked to bring his favourite soft toy, the one he took to bed every night and always carried around. “We were only going to my parents so I told him that it would be waiting for him when he got back. But then the house was damaged and we never found the toy again. Thinking about it still makes me sad.”

Even if there is no comparison between the old house and the apartment in Amman, Abeer’s tried  to add touches of what the family once had to the two-bedroom flat – and she involves her kids.

“My children are my friends, I always ask for their opinion and listen to them – just like my own parents did.”

That’s why the sofa cover in the living room is both dark blue and bright pink, and why the children’s room is divided in two – one half jam-packed with superheroes and football teams, the other with images of a brilliant girl explorer.

Two children playing on a rooftop overlooking a big city.

IKEA and Jordan River Foundation

Jordan – a country of only 9 million people with high rates of unemployment – has taken on a great responsibility hosting many of the region’s refugees. The non-profit organization Jordan River Foundation (JRF) is working hard to tackle the crisis. When IKEA and JRF team up it’s to create jobs for Jordanian women and women refugees in this hard-pressed region – while at the same time creating products that represents courage and visions in terms of design.