I never thought that this experience will change me into a complete different person."
I never thought that this experience will change me into a complete different person."
I would have never imagined meeting Her Majesty one day, but when she visited Wadi Araba, I realized that we have achieved something to be proud of."
The desert of Wadi Araba became a green paradise producing only the best, and our community divided one day, is now working together under Qaa Al-Se’diyeen Association."
I had no idea Suha was going through such a hard time. I could see there was something wrong, but I didn’t know what to do about it. Thank you for helping us"
In University, am not Abu Sakher or the head of an association, am just a regular student and my daughter’s colleague."
Like many, I was occupied with the details of my own daily life. I walked in the neighborhood on a daily basis, it was impossible to avoid the scattered garbage or twisting my ankle when walking over a hidden hole; yet I did nothing, we did nothing to change. It was always easier to blame the authorities. All of this changed once we enrolled in the JRF’s program which taught us the spirit in working as a team."
I come from an area of small farmers who can barely sell their produce to the local market and with the suppressed prices during the high season, the farmers are content if they just break-even… a cold storage and a food processing unit was a dream for us but we never thought that it can become reality."
I felt like a prisoner, today I accept my daughter’s illness, I know how to deal with her, before I used to deal with her illness instead.”"
JRF has transformed me into a Super Citizen"
The Safe Room is a haven for distressed girls whom we have longed to assist for the past years," "in this space, students can speak freely and confidentially about their deepest pains and fears, seek guidance, and receive support."
I am so grateful for your help, I have talked to my mother about what I am experiencing and she has been very supportive since"
I knew that this project can change my life... I met many people and have more self-confidence."
I feel empowered as I became one of two decision makers in my house. I now help my husband around the house, I learned how to drive and bought my first car after three years of work. My husband and I bought a land and a house and we are saving for the education of our three children."
I continuously talk to my peers and encourage them to enroll in the centers various programs and activities. At school, I stood out in my class as I became more confident and empowered; now I want my younger brothers to join the center so they get the same opportunity I did."
I liked to practice what I learned at home, and I had no idea that my brothers and sisters were learning too."
I felt so good after that call” said the counselor who spoke to Suha and her mother, “it is live proof that doing what we do can have a real impact on someone’s life. Suha is not alone in her struggle anymore, we made that happen"
I would have had no future if it wasn’t for the program and the support of the Jordan River Foundation."
“My father encourages me to continue my education after he witnessed my success; I am a changed woman. Today I am a real member in the family; participate in decision making equal to my brothers and full of belief that in order to make a change, you should change from within yourself first."
Inside us is a new feeling that we haven’t experienced before, the feeling of true citizenship and responsibility towards ourselves and our community”"
The training I received on Basic life Skills, Leadership Skills and volunteering have enriched my teen years and developed my personality."
The beacon that guides the residents towards one goal for the benefit of all."
I was shy and had few friends; today I am blessed with many friends within my community."
My work with JRF and in the complex enriched my experience and my university studies; it is truly the ultimate prize."
Through JRF's training programs, Madeline and I are able to identify cases of abuse in school, assist girls through creative and indirect methodologies such as writing and drawing and cooperate with the Family Protection Department in Aqaba when needed."
I want to be popular like other girls in my class”, she complains “why is this happening to me?"
The smile we draw on the innocent faces of these young girls is the source of our strong-will and determination to continue and expand the work we have started", thank you JRF."
We are proud to declare that the Safe Room has assisted more than 60 girls since 2009 and was successful in returning ten dropouts to school again," "corporal punishment have dropped down significantly, and parents are showing more collaboration with our project."
When Her Majesty’s visited us to share our experience, her words motivated us; I will never forget it when she said we rephrased the meaning of the word “Citizen” through our work."
My dream is to start my own business one day soon."
I lived my childhood in KSA, I had no idea what the word “volunteer” meant until I became one."
Both skills and experience that I acquired from the center made me feel that I have a message to share with other women; my work as an educator is just a small token to show my gratitude."
My parents, who opposed the idea at the beginning, recognize the new me and encouraged my twin brother to join."
It was a daunting path towards an old and dark storage room, we never imagined that this same space could become a bright, safe and attractive room, it has actually become our favorite spot in the school."
We are in a much better place; our voices are heard by authorities after a long time of silence, we know how to deal with challenges and transform them into opportunities."
I was empowered by Jordan River Foundation’s training and worked hard to change, leading my father to change too”"
My life has changed completely."
Working with JRF, I discovered there are no limits to ambition. Working with youth, inspired me even more to develop myself personally so I enrolled in University; something I never thought was possible."
We were determined to find the space in our compounded school building, and with humble resources we agreed to renovate the old storage."
My experience with JRF changed me, I realize now that the prize is bigger than money; it is great friends and the feeling of pride every time I pass by a school or a street that we helped to change."
QRCEC adopts an ecological model of comprehensive and integrated services to incorporate the cultural context, community, family and the individual (parent/child) in the “process of change” and the securing of economic opportunities and child safety. A multifaceted and comprehensive approach is used to address both unemployment and poverty, in addition to the multiple risk factors associated with child rights, while identifying protective factors that enhance family functioning. The Center presents multiple models to local community members to improve their economic livelihoods, as well as to families and children for healthy interaction that meet the needs of a multicultural diverse population, providing hands-on training for different professionals (e.g. teachers, counselors and nurses).
The core objective of QRCEC is to empower the local community of Aqaba by:
Accordingly and to fulfill its core objective, QRCEC activities and interventions focus on the following three pillars:
1) Healthy Family Dynamics and Child Protection
2) Economic Empowerment
3) Youth Empowerment and Employability
Healthy Family Dynamics And Child Protection
Driven by Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah’s conviction that the well-being of future generations should be of primary concern to the Jordanian society, JRF has touched the lives of countless children and their families. The Foundation achieves this by providing a host of creative and innovative preventative, educating approaches; learning childcare techniques taught to mothers, insights for fathers on alternative means of discipline, instructing youth in conflict resolution and basic life skills, and empowering children with awareness and self-protection skills.
The results and social challenges identified by a socio-economic study of the Old Town demonstrated the dire need for JRF to implement the following family and child protection activities in Aqaba through:
Children’s Interactive mediums, which consist of:
CHILDREN’S INTERACTIVE MEDIUMS
Children’s programs are based on a participatory approach to learning which involves all senses in the learning process. Rather than being taught through lectures, children are shown how they can be a self-learner, and individually capable of deducing knowledge through interaction with real life experiences and situations. Children are provided with edutainment programs implemented within interactive mediums, which include: an interactive library, art studio, drama workshop, sports workshop and an IT lab.
Following is a brief description of each medium’s activities:
The interactive library is a child friendly model of an environment that would replace the traditional criteria and specifications of children’s libraries and the traditional pursuit of knowledge therein. The space within the interactive library aims to fuse communication with reading, playing, conversing, writing and expression through various forms of art and play. Adults in the interactive library primarily cater to the needs of children by focusing on children’s areas of interest and the use of developmentally and culturally appropriate means. The key programs implemented within the interactive library include; “Together We Can Build our Country” which addresses children’s rights and responsibilities within their local community and society, “We are Different but yet Alike” which promotes self-concept and value, as well as the acceptance of the “different” other and instills peace-building relationships, and “Stop Bullying” which addresses a major problem in schools and communities among peers, specifically among adolescents.
Drama is a significant educative medium through which children can get in touch with their inner self and realize their capacities. The main objective of the drama workshop is to help children realize and connect with their inner selves and consequently reach a level of harmony between the child and him/herself. Activities of this workshop encourage children to understand and express their inner thoughts and feelings through sound (words) and movement (body).
Programs implemented within the drama workshop include “Who am I?” which addresses main concepts of child safety, the privacy of the body and circles of trust, and the other with adults and young children “Being Intimate with Your Child”, which is related to the emotional relationship between children and caregivers.
Power Of Color (Art Workshop)
For children who are at risk of being abused or have experienced abuse, trauma or loss, drawing helps to externalize painful emotions and events that are difficult to verbalize and is an effective means through which children are able to convey the complexities of unspoken fears, anxieties, painful experiences, repressed memories or guilt. Drawings expediently bring issues to the surface, thus accelerating the professional at hand’s ability to prevent at-risk children from being abused and to intervene and assist troubled and abused children.
Through the programs designed for drawing exercises, children learn that painting and illustration by pencils and crayons can have value. This approach further fosters self-confidence and allows these children to master a skill through which they can, without limitations, communicate and interact with others. Children participating in the Arts Workshop are also given the opportunity to participate in national, pan-Arab and international competitions and exhibitions, so that their work is appreciated, in turn enhancing a sense of achievement.
IT in Child Safety (Computer Lab)
The IT training program does not only include learning computer skills and the use of various computer programs but also uses the computer as a tool through which children and youth learn how to interact positively with one other within the group, to express themselves and think creatively. The IT training program educates them on the different parts, processes and functions of the computer, and teaches them how to use Microsoft Office and the various programs which promote self expression and emphasize the learning process.
Unlike other IT centres, the main objective of this IT lab is not only to teach children basic computer skills and applications, but rather it helps them express themselves verbally, pictorially and symbolically in a fluent manner through the use of new technology.
PROGRAMS FOR PARENTS AND PRIMARY CAREGIVERS
The family is the building block of Jordanian society, and the primary caregiver of the majority of children in Jordan. While the physical and educational needs of children are critical within the realm of “parental accountability,” their emotional and developmental needs are less widely understood and addressed. Many Jordanian parents lack parenting skills and education about parenting practices and children's developmental stages, which in many cases could lead to child abuse and maltreatment.
Through its parenting unit, QRCCE complements its prevention activities through training programs promoting improved child-rearing practices and positive family dynamics. Training programs for parents and primary caregivers conducted by the parenting unit include: Entering the World of Early Childhood focusing on understanding and handling children (birth to 8 years), Dealing with Our Adolescent Children, New-Born Children, Behavior Modification and Developmentally Appropriate Disciplinary Measures, Concepts of Child Safety.
GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE CASE MANAGEMENT UNIT (Under establishment)
With consideration to the needs of mothers and parents, the Center will house a case management unit that provides compassionate and comprehensive case management services and psychological support to survivors of child abuse and violence against women (VAW) in the local area of the Old Town, targeting vulnerable women and children. This unit will complement the existing work which the center carries out on family protection, and address noted gaps in service provision in Aqaba.
The center will house a team of caseworkers and outreach officers to appropriately meet the needs of beneficiaries. Caseworkers supervised by a senior caseworker, will be responsible for the intake and assessment of these individuals who seek assistance from the Center.
JRF acknowledges the significant role of schools in the process of child development and learning, and to this end, the Foundation’s Child Safety Program launched a national initiative called the “Safe Schools Project” to turn schools into safe environments for learning and education. The Project aims to enhance learning environments for children and adults and strengthen classroom environments, adults in education and the local community.
“Safe Schools Project” combines awareness programs, child development, parenting, children’s self-protection, youth civic engagement, community mobilization and professional training to build and strengthen the skills of students, teachers, administrative staff and local community members, hence instilling a comprehensive approach to the Project.
In effect, Safe Schools evaluates and assesses the situation of the schools by conducting needs-assessment and strategic planning workshops. With the importance of participation considered, the Project employs “Active Participatory Methods (APM)” in project planning and design, hence involving all related parties (including students, teachers, administrative staff and parents & guardians).
Four schools in Aqaba were selected for project activities, each of which has an average student body of 1,000 students and 50 educators.
Since inception, JRF has worked diligently to provide local community members with economic opportunities to improve their livelihoods and those of their family members and hence communities. To date, the Foundation’s programs have benefited thousands of individuals and families by implementing programs and projects through capacity-building and business development initiatives, as well as infrastructure and income generating projects that strive to empower communities by encouraging them to articulate their needs and contribute to their own economic development.
The study conducted clearly indicated that the local community members of the Old Town are faced with unemployment and economic challenges, and that they are unable to partake in the labor market due to their low educational levels and skills. Moreover, most CBOs were identified as very weak, making them unable to take charge of their own livelihoods.
In view of these results, JRF is working on the following components:
- Neighborhood Development Activity (NDA)
- Re-organization of the local community in Aqaba through the establishment of the Old Town of Aqaba Cooperative
- Conducting an annual Micro-entrepreneurship week
- Business for a Day
- Micro and Social Entrepreneurship and SMEs development
- CAPACITY BUILDING OF COMMUNITY BASED ORGANIZATIONS (CBOS)
JRF seeks to strengthen the institutional capacities of non-governmental Community Based Organizations, enabling them to manage and execute socio-economic projects efficiently and effectively. Accordingly and in 2007, two community based organizations in Aqaba were trained on organizational management, good governance, financial management, project management, and project implementation, in addition to providing CBOs with grants and technical training sessions to establish income-generating projects that meet local needs and provide financial stability to these local entities.
QRCCE will continue the capacity building of Aqaba’s CBOs to ensure their financial and operational sustainability and support them in creating economic opportunities for their beneficiaries.
YOUTH EMPOWERMENT AND EMPLOYABILITY
Through its programs, JRF continuously works towards exemplifying Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah’s conviction that young Jordanians represent a tremendous wellspring of talent and drive, and that helping them reach their fullest potential is the greatest opportunity and obligation. As such, JRF integrates youth within its main programs by mobilizing, activating and empowering meaningful and equal economic and social participation of youth to reflect positively on the quality of their lives and their communities as a whole.
To address the challenges faced by youth in Aqaba, JRF’s work focuses on youth empowerment and employability by conducting the following youth-based activities:
MAGHAWEER AL AQABA - YOUTH PARTICIPATION IN LOCAL COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
QRCEC provides programs that empower youth, strengthen their sense of identity, increase their awareness, enhance their skills and activate their role and participation in their communities and in society at large.
In 2009, QRCEC recruited and raised the capacity of 25 youth “Maghaweer Al Aqaba” who have become leaders in their communities. Annually, the Maghaweer set a yearly action plan that involves volunteering and civic engagement activities for youth in Aqaba. Each year, around 150 youth volunteers from different parts of Aqaba implement several community services projects that they design, lead and implement. In 2009, the youth organized a clean-up program at Al Thawra public square. In 2010 they youth provided English courses to children and managed a football league, and in 2011 the youth cleaned and painted a public school and a public park. Al Maghaweer has become an active youth committee that participates and assists in the planning and management of local events organized by the Aqaba Development Corporation and other NGOs and CBOs in the area.
The results of the program are multifold; empowering youth, building strong connections with the local community, renovating parks and schools for the families and children of local communities, and ultimately, creating a model which can be emulated in other Jordanian communities through youth involvement and participation.
YOUTH EMPLOYMENT AND PARTICIPATION
Essential components of youth employability are capacity building and work-related training sessions for youth on careers that are in demand in Aqaba’s local market. These sessions include vocational training, tourism and hospitality related training and entrepreneurial skills training.
QRCEC, in cooperation with ASEZA and ADC, identified several professions that are specific to Aqaba and which are urgently needed and yet are unavailable in the market. Such professions included lifeguards, occupational health and safety technicians and hospitality and other tourism related careers.
In October 2011, QRCEC, with the assistance of the Royal Naval Forces (RNF) trained a core group of 20 youth on lifeguard techniques and water rescue, using a variety of aid techniques and equipment, and as an outcome, ten of the youth were certified by the RNF as professional lifeguards. Moreover, three of the youth were able to find employment and were appointed in the touristic beach in the southern area (Berenice south beach).
In 2012, the QRCEC will be training a core group of 20 youth on occupational health and safety, in addition to introducing the JRF Youth Career Initiative (YCI) in Aqaba, which falls under Tourism and Hospitality training.
The YCI is designed to empower disadvantaged, vulnerable young people by equipping them with relevant life and work skills and expose them to a successful business environment and professionals that will help them to make informed career choices and become employable. The program’s strategy focuses on raising awareness among youth on available employment opportunities in the hotel industry, to provide them with the necessary life and employability skills, and to encourage them and their parents to consider working in hotels. This six-month training program within the selected hotels equips youth with industry-specific skills, in addition to basic life skills in communication, teamwork, critical thinking, problem solving, information management, personal management, and life-long learning. Although these skills are not taught at the school level, they are necessary to facilitate the entry of youth into a challenging labor market. As a result, young people in the program can enhance their potential, gain self-esteem and develop the ability to make better decisions concerning their futures and increase their opportunity to acquire better jobs.
In previous years, JRF built the capacity of young females in Aqaba on leadership and entrepreneurship through its “Fostering Future Leaders project”. The program started with a group of seven young female volunteers (ages 18-24) who were selected through interviews and workshops in the old town of Aqaba via the Red Cross Society. The women were trained on community mobilization skills, community needs assessment, project identification and implementation and financial management. After three months of training, the women created the AFKAR group and set up an electronic library within the Red Cross, which they furnished and equipped with required equipment and tools such as books, a data show, printers and computers. This library is the first of its kind in the Old town of Aqaba that caters to women and youth. The women from AFKAR group also became very active promoting awareness and livelihood training for women at their homes. The Group also started began conducting training sessions on candle making, English language (with the assistance of volunteers), and support classes for school curricula. The group started from five volunteers and has now grown to 30 volunteers who serve and support around 500 direct and indirect beneficiaries.