Sunday, May 20, 2012

Innovative school to impart life skills, resiliency

by Rand Dalgamouni | May 19,2012 | 22:32

Children participate in a workshop organised by the Friends of Development and Investment Society in Jerash Governorate on Saturday (Photo courtesy of FDIS)

JERASH — Instead of addressing just one problem that may affect vulnerable youth in the Kingdom, a local civil society organisation has adopted a comprehensive approach to train young people in life skills and reinforce their resiliency.
Members of the Friends of Development and Investment Society (FDIS) in Jerash Governorate, 48km to the north of Amman, on Saturday launched the "Resiliency and Life Skills International School" as a means of active prevention of possible juvenile delinquency.
"Reinforcing the resiliency of these groups of children and youths and training them in life skills will enable them to avoid risks," FDIS Executive Director Ali Nobani said at a ceremony to launch the school.
"… And so, through the school, we have the opportunity to work on a range of important themes all at once, rather than scattering our efforts across many issues," he added.
The school started its first undertaking on Saturday, engaging 20 school dropouts and children from refugee camps in several interactive activities to entertain them and educate them on social skills.
During the event, which concludes on Sunday, trainers from the FDIS are helping the children share their stories and participate in a dialogue about problems that affect their lives and how to resolve them.
"This is just a modest start," Nobani told The Jordan Times on the sidelines of the event.
"We are hoping to secure enough funding to expand our activities into training trainers... and continuing to engage youths and help them gain the life skills and resiliency that they need," he said.
"We will also work on mapping marginalised youths in the Kingdom and creating a database to help us identify the young people who need this kind of training," he added.
Nobani received training on this approach in Egypt and decided to apply it in Jordan through the FDIS.
"We have a team of activists who really believe in this project and are willing to give it their all," he said, adding that the people involved in the project are schoolteachers and social advisers who work with underprivileged youths and can identify those who would benefit from this training.
But he said the project has so far failed to secure public or private funding.
"We have paid all the expenses for this workshop because we didn't get any funds, but we cannot go on like this; we need proper financing if we are to continue with this project," he noted.
Sharhabeel Abu Fasheh, an FDIS member and a social adviser at a school in Jerash, said the education ministry requests a list of dropouts from every school each year, but there are no measures to follow up on these reported cases.
"We need to have a programme with direct effects on these children, to help them live a healthy childhood," added Fasheh, who shared his experience in helping a group of dropouts return to school and start a dabkeh, or traditional dance, troupe.
For the future, FDIS members seek to build an actual school in Jerash with dormitories and camps to deliver life skills and resiliency training courses for underprivileged children.
"Our dream, with the proper financial support, is to purchase a few dunums of land where we can build this school," Nobani said.


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