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Queen visits Mafraq village, meets local residents

By JT - Apr 18,2016 - Last updated at Apr 18,2016

Her Majesty Queen Rania meets with residents of Al Koum Al Ahmar village in Mafraq Governorate, some 80km northeast of Amman, during a visit on Monday (Photo courtesy of Royal Court)

AMMAN — Her Majesty Queen Rania visited Al Koum Al Ahmar village in Mafraq Governorate on Monday to check on its schools and meet with residents and local figures there, as part of her community outreach efforts. 

The Queen examined living conditions in the village, and listened to representatives from a local charity organisation, who highlighted the urgency for much-needed assistance, according to a statement from Her Majesty’s office.

The village, which is close to the border with Syria, has become home to hundreds of Syrian families who fled the war in the neighbouring country, and residents say this has added tremendous strain on its already poor and exhausted infrastructure.

Her Majesty dropped by Al Koum Al Ahmar Primary Coeducational School and Al Koum Al Ahmar Primary School for Girls. There, she met with the schools’ principals and students, and toured classrooms and school facilities.

The village has had to cope with scarce resources that barely cover its residents’ needs. 

The municipality rents two school buildings, but both lack basic facilities and playgrounds. The schools also suffer from overcrowding and a shortage of teachers, leaving them unable to accommodate all children in the village.

Queen Rania also visited Al Koum Al Ahmar Charitable Society, where she conveyed His Majesty King Abdullah’s regards to residents of the village.

Established in 1996, the charity supports local families with income-generating projects, vocational training programmes and financial aid.

In a tent outside the charity’s building, Her Majesty met with around 60 local residents and prominent community leaders, including village Sheikh Khalaf Sweied, who delivered welcoming remarks thanking the Queen for her visit.

Her Majesty praised the villagers’ generosity and resilience in facing tough living conditions that have been worsened by the Syrian refugee crisis.

During the meeting, the society’s president, Ali Al Athamat explained the village’s need for better education and health services. 

He charged that the village has been neglected for decades by various officials and government organisations. 

Her Majesty’s visit brought joy to the residents and gave them hope, he added.

Athamat also highlighted the urgent need to address the village’s water scarcity and other basic municipal services. 

He added that one of the challenges the village faces is the fact that a main highway passes through its centre, endangering the lives of children who have to cross the road to get to school every day.

Hmoud Al Athamat, who spoke on behalf of the health and education sectors, briefed Her Majesty on the village’s poor healthcare services. 

Currently, one health centre, which employs a general practitioner and a dentist, is the only health facility available to the village’s 7,000 residents.

He appealed to the Queen for help in upgrading the facility to become a comprehensive health centre with full-time doctors and medical staff.

Majd Shtiewy, who spoke on behalf of the women and youth sectors, underscored efforts by young residents in launching initiatives and holding workshops to support the residents of Al Koum Al Ahmar village.

She added that women in Al Koum Al Ahmar play an active role in reform and development, and regularly attend workshops and classes at the charity to improve their knowledge and skills.

She said the society also offers women seminars on family planning and women’s rights in order to instil confidence in them and prepare them to take on active roles within their community.

On her last stop in the village, Queen Rania visited the home of an underprivileged elderly woman to listen to her needs and offer support.

 

Al Koum Al Ahmar village in Mafraq is located in the Northern Badia region. Its population consists mostly of Athamat and Masaeed families, who are of Bedouin descent, the statement said.

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