Actor Theo James has called on support for refugees living in Jordan saying that those struggling to survive appear to “carry the weight of the world on their shoulders”.
The White Lotus star, who is a supporter of UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, recently travelled to the Middle Eastern country to meet refugees and displaced people, many of whom fled the Syrian crisis 12 years ago.
Reflecting on what he learnt about the long-term impact of displacement, James said: “The scars of war are not always visible, but there is also an enormous sustained impact.
“For many, despair is setting in as they have lost their jobs and cannot provide for their families; others have taken on extremely high debts and face the threat of being evicted.
“It is as if they were carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders. All this while trying to cope with the trauma of war and loss.”
The actor also feels a personal connection to the refugee cause because his grandfather sought refuge in Syria during the Second World War when he worked for the UN in Greece but was forced to flee from Athens to Damascus.
“It highlights that anyone can become a refugee at any time, and without the solidarity of the Syrian people my family would not have found safety,” he added.
Jordan has the second-highest share of refugees per capita worldwide and hosts more than 650,000 Syrian refugees registered with UNHCR, the agency said.
The country relies on sustained funding to help support refugees but the UNHCR has said it is “struggling to fund its activities” in Syria.
The agency warns this could affect refugee children who are at “heightened risk” of missing out on school and good nutrition, and may face child abuse, violence, neglect, child marriage and child labour.
UNHCR has called for donations to help support countries like Jordan which are hosting vast numbers of refugees from Syria and other areas.