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Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development

#myCommunity: Together this Summer

Alexandra Jameson

On Monday, July 18th, ARDD launched its first summer camp for teens in Phase II of My Community Project. In continued cooperation with the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), My Community Project strives to empower women and youth from Jordanian host communities and Syrian refugees by providing social and legal tools to become active participants in their communities which in turn will strengthen their resilience mechanisms.

During this summer camp, beyond bridging gaps between Syrian and Jordanian communities, My Community hopes to promote social cohesion also between teenage boys and girls. As schools in Jordan tend to be separated by nationality and gender, the space provided by this program offers the opportunity for youth to bond by increasing their social skills and breaking many cultural and social barriers that separate them. Additionally, this project seeks to contribute to preventing dangerous behaviors, reduce crime and drug use, and creates opportunities to re-engage children who have dropped out of school.

With 20 women and 25 teenagers in attendance, our first session aimed to create an open atmosphere where the beneficiaries become comfortable with one another and our team. Our facilitators for this program, Amani and Bayan - two change makers, led the youth in an art session consisting of both laugh therapy and theater expression in order to build the teens confidence as well as create an attitude of positive engagement going forward.  

While the teens participated in this art session, the mothers were introduced to the project by Dr. Lina, our psychosocial support Team Leader, who discussed the information the women can expect to gain throughout the psychosocial and legal sessions. The women introduced themselves to one another, becoming emotional as they shared personal experiences and revealing their need for such an outlet to express their experiences. They also expressed a need for increased understanding on raising their teenagers.

In the civic engagement portion of “My Community Project,” the teens and their mothers join one session where the focus is on strengthening the capacity of women and teenagers as civil society actors with the ability to promote their own interests and make positive changes in their communities.

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