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Humanitarian protection programme supports local women, children

By Mays Ibrahim Mustafa - Nov 25,2022 - Last updated at Nov 25,2022

AMMAN — The Queen Rania Family and Child Centre, founded in 2005 under the Jordan River Foundation (JRF), is providing the local community with a variety of protection and awareness raising programmes, mostly targeting women and children.

Its activities are part of a UK-funded project, which was launched on Wednesday, targeting refugees and host communities. It’s focused on protection response services, prevention services and capacity building programmes, jointly implemented by the JRF, the Danish Refugee Council and the Humanity and Inclusion charity. 

Beneficiaries and volunteers shared their learning experiences at the centre with The Jordan Times.   

Marwa Al Khattab, 26, and a single mother of a four-year-old, recently participated in an art therapy programme implemented by the JRF.

“I am generally a very curious person and I like learning new things, so I was intrigued when I saw the programme’s name and I decided to sign up”, she told The Jordan Times. 

Through a four-day course, Khattab learned how to use formative arts as an outlet of self expression. 

“The results, which can be in the form of sculptures or paintings, may not make sense to others, but I know what struggles and emotions they stand for and that gives me comfort,” she said, noting that this experience taught her about self-understanding and acceptance.

For Khattab, creating art is “a really positive method for unloading all the negative emotions that pile up when life feels like too much, instead of letting them come out in ways that cause me or others harm,” she said. 

Khawla Malek, a 59-year-old previous beneficiary of the centre’s programme, is currently a volunteer giving back what she learned to her local community. 

She benefited from courses on women empowerment, anger management, art therapy and parental care. Later on, Malek was trained by the centre to become one of the programme’s coaches.

She said that taking part in this programme “changed [her] life” in various ways.

Malek, who used to be a full-time mother and homemaker, used to attend the centre’s courses while her kids were at school. 

“I got married immediately after finishing high school and never got a chance to go to college. Now that my kids are grown, this work gave me a new purpose and chance to fill my time in a rewarding manner that allows me to be of help to others,” she told The Jordan Times. 

“It allowed me to reconnect with 18-year-old Khawla and realise her dream of pursuing a higher education. This place is now my second home,” she added. 

Malek currently gives awareness raising lectures on early marriage, child labour and gender-based violence. She also delivers educational storytelling sessions for children and takes part in implementing various other activities related to parenting and child protection. 

All courses and activities conducted at the centre are free-of-charge, and in some training sessions, transport costs are covered to increase the centre’s reach and to ensure inclusivity, according to Malek. 

Noor Tambur, 37, is also a volunteer at the centre with a bachelor’s degree in sociology. She started as a social worker on JRF’s 110 Helpline, “a free service offering support in child and family safety and psychological well being”.  

Currently, she is one of the coaches on the “Small House” project, targeting children between the ages of 6 and 10.

Using a life-sized model of a house with a number of rooms, kids are taught about emotions, healthy and unhealthy foods, safety rules, self-awareness, individual uniqueness, acceptance, inner beauty, trust circles as well as physical privacy and boundaries, Tambur said.

She noted that the programme, which aims to “create a safe space for children to learn, express themselves and feel heard and accepted”, is interactive.

“Rather than giving children instructions to follow, we ask them questions, brainstorm ideas and gradually arrive at answers together,” she said. 

She added that her years volunteering at the centre have helped bring her closer to people in her community, especially children. 

“Contributing to supporting children’s development, receiving their love and building their trust by celebrating their small wins and helping them overcome obstacles, is a very rewarding experience,” she said. 

 

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