The incredible work of Rotary International has always been a source of inspiration, and although I never had the opportunity to participate in a club meeting, I was invited by Mr. Samir Seikaly to join Amman club members in the 105th anniversary celebration of this international Organization. Rotary’s reputation far exceeds any words I might add to describe their worldwide effort to promote the betterment of our global community. Hence, such invitation rather felt like an honorary reflection of People of Change’s goals.
On a more regional level, the Tatawor Association has been trailing a similar path. Committed to youth and women issues in Amman for over 6 years, the organization was created in 2003 by Elena Abuadas and Mariam Abu Adas. Several social and environmental projects have been implemented along this period, further benefiting the entire Jordanian community.
At the time Tatawor was created, most local non-governmental organizations were relatively restricted to a specific field of action; thus, opposing the essential notion of interactivity and networking among all non-profits. Around this same period, both co-founders were additionally working on personal activist ventures, which provided an enormous informational background for their future projects – the beginning of a change.
The Association received its first funding in 2004, capitalizing the first Youth Exchange Program as part of a European Union project. Due to the positive outcome, Elena and Mariam became more active on the projects, and decided to create a greater interactivity among NGOs; as a result, “Free to Work” was envisioned. This 2-year project focused on training young men and women to develop crucial skills, further contributing to their professional career.
Indeed, one of the issues encountered in providing jobs for women was the actual cultural tradition. Married women could only start work on the basis that their husbands were also employed. Hence, the Association found a double obligation (and double labor) regarding such situation.
As part of the “Free to Work” program, Tatawor’s members trained instructors, who would take the coaching forward and educate more people through an 8-week course. Noticeably, each course was adapted to different segments of society. For example, female prisoners and housewives received dissimilar training; yet, the basic idea of skills development was inherent in both courses.
Another project, initiated in 2006 and entitled “Citizens In My City,” aimed at bringing solidarity into three contrasting neighborhoods around Jordan. Indeed, these neighborhoods were selected after a careful analysis of conspicuous characteristics, ranging from high rates of drug abuse to poverty levels.
This 2-year project encompassed several activities, ranging from cultural workshops to environmental education. Youth was, once again, the targeted population segment and exchange programs, including arts and music, were some of the approaches utilized by the Association to attract young men and women. Mariam pointed out, however, that the greatest inspiration was the actual lack of solidarity around these neighborhoods. The population lived in bubbles and often ignored their rights and duties as citizens of a community.
After meeting with these two social workers, it became apparent that their commitment to the cause was a direct reflection of their personalities: honest, open-hearted and joyful people. And although Tatawor Association is not currently promoting any projects, the documentation of their efforts will have to be sufficed by these words. Indeed, both co-founders are currently in the process of starting another project, which primarily focuses on youth and culture – the beginning of a new successful story.
P.S.: Mariam Abu Adas is also one of the co-founders of another project: 7iber.com. The website serves as a platform for open communication in Jordan and the content ranges from articles to multimedia entries – all with the unique goal of informing Jordanians (and the global community) on relevant issues.
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