The Youth of ARDD: Abdulrahman Al-Sorour
Abdulrahman is a business administration student at the Hashemite University, a volunteer and a social activist. He joined the ARDD volunteer team following his participation in the Lana project as change maker with one of his friends. Abdulrahman chose to participate because he wished to develop his understanding of gender-based issues in the community and to experience the culture and traditions of communities different to his own.
“The [Lana] project shaped our personalities and provided us with the necessary skills and abilities to interact with people, to influence them, to communicate with them and to accept their opinions. It also allowed us to improve the skills that empower us to organize, manage and implement training programs and various community based initiatives”
One of Abdulrahman’s greatest successes during his participation in the Lana project was “The Lost Right" initiative which aimed to increase women’s access to justice. Abdulrahman gained a deeper background about justice and equality and the difference between the two terms. In addition, he learnt how to encourage and empower women to positively influence their local community and change the society that they live in. The experience that he gained has positively impacted the manner of his own interactions with women from his family and in society as a whole.
“My character has changed significantly. I now have the ability to stand up and speak confidently in public, and I have changed the way in which I conduct in my dealings with family and colleagues at university or work. I became more sociable and developed a more creative mind. I would not hesitate to help any person to better themselves and benefit society.”
Abdulrahman witnessed firsthand the impact that the initiative had on the participants and audience during a play performed by participants about their own experiences. One participant shared her experience in marriage at a young age in front of an audience of mothers and fathers. Abdulrahman witnessed the powerful impact that this had on many of the officials and decision-makers that were present.
“What we have learnt from Lana project prepared and empowered us to continue to be trainers in the “My Community” project. In my opinion, this project will make difference because the project promotes positive interactions between people from different backgrounds including different nationalities, ages, and genders. This is an opportunity for the participants to experience other perspectives and to discuss and to engage with one another during the activities in the sessions. By the end of the project the participants' lives will be affected positively and the society as a whole.”
The main role of Abdulrahman in the “My Community Project” is the management of Civic engagement sessions. He worked hard to win the trust of the mothers and their children and empower them to be active members of society and facilitate change in their communities.
“I conduct civic engagement sessions where we want to build a relationship of trust between mothers and their children. We want them to be positive and proactive in dealing with problems instead of resorting to a breakdown of communication or violence. In this way the child will not be afraid to be honest and discuss any problems or difficulties that they have with their mother. We missed out on this as children and we do not want these children to miss out as well.”
Abdulrahman initially faced challenges in keeping the children constantly engaged but was able to overcome these issues using his positive attitude:
“This was my first time dealing with children and I did not expect myself to be able to effectively deal with any misbehavior if it arose. In the end, I relied on the fact that I am a cheerful person and used my positivity to keep the children engaged. The children even noted that I have a beautiful smile and I discovered something new about myself; I am able to interact with children effectively and I enjoy doing so.”
His most important achievement was his contribution to improving social cohesion between Jordanians and Syrians. He was initially nervous about this aspect during the planning of the project but during the implementation of the sessions he was very impressed by the kids and proud of his own role in facilitating their positive interactions. Abdulrahman described to us the changes that occurred in the children’s behavior with the help of their mothers:
“The children have learnt how to think creatively, for example they came up with several initiatives regarding recycling. Like any kid, they love to play and have fun but we all thought about making positive changes and getting rid of negative thoughts and actions. We did this with the help of the mothers who encourage their children to think positively and creatively and to do good things without charge. The children have changed, they were very shy and very quiet but now they have broken through the barrier of fear, became more proactive and they interact with each other inside and outside the sessions. The sessions for the mothers influenced how they treat their children. This is most important because we can only spend a relatively short amount of time with their children, no more than two hours, but the primary responsibility falls to the mothers and how they behave at home.”
When asked about the things that he learned from the “My Community Project”, Abdulrahman said the following: “I learnt how to deal with children and mothers separately or together. This is the first time that I managed these kinds of sessions and it was a challenge for me to run a session that engages both mothers and children but we were able to overcome the age-gap. I acquired the skills of a trainer and now I am able to effectively facilitate a session where the participants are from one age group or more."
Abdulrahman concluded the interview by talking about the ARDD organization, and how it gave him his start in voluntary work.
“I began with little experience in voluntary work but ARDD pushes us and gives us an opportunity to improve ourselves. My aim is to help people and myself. What I missed out on through childhood and now as youth, I will give to others. I definitely always stay a part of ARDD’s projects because of how they treat people, their credibility and their commitment. Now I can see the change that they have been making and this shows that their work and efforts are effective and wonderful.”