Dozens of women work busily, their hands forming balls of dough before stuffing them with date paste and molding them into small pillows, while the air around them burbles with the sound of their chatter and gradually fills with the warm, sweet scent of baking.
The women are refugees from Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Sudan and Somalia, as well as local Jordanians, and they have gathered to make ma’amoul – a traditional shortbread pastry that is consumed across the Arab world during Eid celebrations to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
Jordan is host to nearly 750,000 registered refugees, the overwhelming majority from the seven-year conflict in neighbouring Syria, but with significant populations also from Iraq, Yemen and Sudan.
The women have come together at a community centre in the Jordanian capital Amman, run by UNHCR- the UN Refugee Agency – and its partner the Jordanian Hashemite Fund for Human Development (Johud). The newly-opened centre aims to foster ties between refugees of different nationalities and the local community – on this occasion through their shared love of food.