Yesterday was a busy day for me and Abu Farez! We visited the Princess Basma Community Development Center (CDC) in South Shuneh, located a few kilometers from Peace Wadi. There are many projects involving locals, and we saw people from all ages there!
One of the projects is called Makani: refugee children attend different classes. They are aged from 5 to 14 years old and normally don’t go to regular schools because they lack Jordanian ID. There are two rooms where they have English, Arabic, Maths and life skills lessons. I was guided by Ai’sha in the CDC, and as she was showing me the empty and colorful rooms, I could imagine the sound of children in my mind. Ai’sha told me there are 10 disabled children in the region, and they go to the center occasionally as well.
As small kitchen is the place where two women cook some Jordanian snacks and specialties, and sell them for the community.
I saw some young teenagers going out of the CDC with cleaning material, and Ai’sha explained me they participate on a program called Mubadera. The boys volunteer to clean the neighborhood of CDC.
The UNHCRH is also implicated in the CDC, funding the meals of some children.
Another project is a private primary school for kids from 4 to 5 years old. The families pay a symbolic amount of 25JD a month, and the children get a better education than in governmental schools, says Mohammad Omar Almuaimi, the new coordinator of the CDC. These kids are Jordanian and Syrian, and they come from families that normally can afford the monthly fee. But Mr. Omar says he wants to attract more children in the future, including from refugee families that live nearby.
Upstairs, there is the Innovation Lab, where Ai’sha actually works. They have three well-equipped rooms. The first one is a programming learning room, where the youth get some introduction to programming. Ouch! Sounds very hard, and the decoration of the room is composed by lovely robots on the walls. The second room has several uses: it’s a robotics lab, but also there are many books, tables, toys and everything the youth needs.
The last room has a guitar and a piano, and children can learn how to play the instruments. Also, they have good recording material. Ai’sha explained that actually they have even elderly coming to the center to learn, and afterwards they participate as instructors for the young ones.
A project with the USAid is providing some English classes to locals as well.
I offered myself to volunteer there some days a week, inshallah very soon I can also teach some photography to youth and give them a hand with social media!
The funniest part was discovering some mutual background between me and Omar (I’m friends with his cousin, back in Bethlehem/Palestine!) and also between Abu Farez and Omar. They have worked together for an animation competition in 2007, producing a short movie for water usage.
It seems like the rain has brought some good luck for us!