A young Syrian boy stands near clothes drying on a line outside a house in Jordan

In Britain, feelings about refugees are running high. But most refugees never even try to come to Europe.

The vast majority of Syrian refugees have fled to neighbouring countries, including Jordan.

According to the UN, there are more than 657,200 Syrian refugees in Jordan. But the Jordanian government says there are nearly twice as many – around 1.3 million.

This means that approximately one in ten or one in six people in Jordan is a Syrian refugee – a huge percentage either way.

And, like in the UK, unemployment and increasing competition for jobs are issues in Jordan. Most refugees can’t work there legally and have to rely on humanitarian aid.

So, while life in Jordan is better than being bombed or hungry in Syria, it is often still hard.

The British Red Cross, with our partners the Jordan Red Crescent, has supported Syrian refugee families in Jordan since 2012.

While around 80,000 Syrians live in Jordan’s Zaatari refugee camp, most live in rented rooms or homes in towns and cities.

This year we gave cash grants to 506 of the most vulnerable families – 2,530 people – to help see them through the hardest months.

Here are some of their stories.

Leena: alone and struggling

Leena, a Syrian refugee in Jordan, sits on the floor looking at the camera with the lower half of her face covered by a scarf

It’s hard to imagine the scale of Leena’s loss. Bombs in Syria took the lives of her husband, daughter and a son.

Two of her other sons were arrested and she has had no news of them. Another son, who has a disability, lives in Syria.

Leena now lives safely in Jordan thanks to kind neighbours in Amman, the capital city.

An £80 monthly grant from the Red Cross grant paid her rent and UN vouchers covered some of her food costs.

But, understandably, Leena suffers from stress anxiety and despair. This is on top of her diabetes and high blood pressure.

Loneliness is a big problem.

Farid: feeling close to Syria in Jordan

Farid, a Syria refugee man living in Jordan, sits on a carpet in a house

Farid dreams of going back to Syria, holding the earth there and smelling its fragrance.

He worked in a bakery in the Syrian town of Homs and remembers the time a bomb exploded when he and his son were near his workplace.

His first instinct was to run and check that they were both still alive.

When the bombing became more frequent, the family moved to Damascus. Finally, they travelled for two days by bus to Jordan.

But Farid struggles with the high cost of living in Amman.

The £160 cash grant he received helped pay the family’s rent. UN food vouchers also helped them get by.

Farid’s children missed so much school that they now have to attend an education centre where they study literacy and numeracy.

But until the situation at home improves, Farid prefers to stay safe close to Syria in Jordan.

Mohammed: memories and hope keep him going

Mohammed, a Syrian refugee from Jordan, sits in a room with one son next to him and holding his youngest son on his knee

Mohammed was a journalist back in Syria. He didn’t want to leave the country so moved from the city of Homs, which was often under attack, to the smaller Al Nabak.

Eventually, he was forced to realise that nowhere in Syria was safe for his family and fled to Jordan near Amman.

At first, Mohammed worked in a restaurant but was caught in a police raid and can no longer work.

His son Saeed took a job in a metal workshop and helps provide for the family.

Mohammed’s priority now is his two younger children. His daughter Rezan goes to school and has many Jordanian friends.

His son Omar, though, lost two years of education. While he should be in year 6, he is starting year 4.

The Red Cross grant of £193 a month meant that Mohammed and his family could cover their rent.

They also got food vouchers from the UN, although they don’t stretch to the cost of fresh vegetables.

The hope of returning to Syria sustains the family while they dream of a peaceful future.

Photo credits: Ibrahim Malla – IFRC and Jordan Red Crescent Society