Stories from change-makers in Jordan
Girls also face increased risks of sexual violence or trafficking during times of disruption. The possibility that girls’ families may force them to marry in order to lessen the financial strain is real. In addition, the ability to go to school is disrupted and some may never regain the opportunities that education provided them. School closures are even more devastating for refugee and displaced girls, who are already at a disadvantage.
Rasha is passionate about defending girls’ rights and determined to help her community rethink harmful social norms. As an active member of Plan International’s youth committee, Rasha is engaging with girls and women about challenges they face, and conducting interactive sessions warning about the devastating consequences of abuse.
An assessment recently conducted by Plan with our local partners found that women and girls are subjected to higher levels of abuse and violence as they are spending more time indoors in close proximity to their family members. "Women and girls must understand what their rights are and what it means to be abused or abusive and how they should deal with this situation."
Rasha was also participating in a life skills project facilitated by Plan before COVID-19. To ensure Rasha and her peers can continue to benefit from the program even during the lockdown, instructors now remotely administer the sessions three times a week using online platforms and group calls.
"The sessions have changed me; it changed how I act and view myself; it changed the way I think and make decisions."’
In place of school, children in the camp are keeping up with their lessons through radio and television broadcasts. Teachers also connect with students remotely through social media platforms.
“I wake up between 8 and 9am and help my mother with household chores. After we have breakfast, I tune in to school lessons broadcast on TV before working on my homework issued by my schoolteachers through WhatsApp groups. I hope to become a doctor one day,” says Majd.
To help counter the isolation felt by many of the camp’s residents, Plan International has adapted existing programs so they can be accessed remotely. Majd is a member of the handicraft club, which distributes kits to the girls and mothers in the local community. They now hold teaching sessions over group calls to guide them on how to make, among other things, their own homemade masks.
“I am currently taking part in a handicraft activity to produce items like face masks made from cotton cloth to help protect us during the COVID-19 crisis. I like the sessions which are done through WhatsApp, they help keep me busy and take my mind away from the pandemic which is scary.”
How has COVID-19 affected your life?
Before COVID-19 school occupied the majority of our time. Attending the classes and doing the homework meant that we would spend the majority of our day either in school or doing schoolwork. Now, everything is done online and we stay home all the time. There isn’t much that we can do.
What activities have helped you cope?
Well, I decided to make the best of this free time. I took online sessions like arts and crafts and I decided to become a good cook, but according to everyone I still have a long way to go.
Can you describe how you have been taking part in the Himayati project using WhatsApp?
Well, the online sessions surely helped, I took the Champions of Change sessions and arts and crafts. These are all important topics especially the Champions of Change but honestly, I feel that the most important thing is keeping in contact with my friends. The online sessions are good, it gives us the motive to learn more about technology and improve our communications skills. But I still prefer sessions conducted in person.
What sort of things do you talk about during the sessions?
For the Champions of Change sessions, we always discuss frustrating things and negative stigmas and collective behaviors like harassment, discrimination, and gender-based violence. We talk about how we can address these issues and inflect positive change in our community.
What are your hopes for the future?
I dream of becoming a policewoman, I feel that our society needs more peace and safety. I wish that when we sleep, we wake up smiling and happy.
Plan International has been working to improve children’s lives in Jordan since 2016.
Our work in Jordan
Office & operations
Plan Jordan’s offices are located in Amman, Azraq refugee camp and Al-Mafraq.
Plan Jordan focuses on the following program areas: education, protection and economic empowerment.
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Subscribe them to Plan’s educational kids’ magazine, Sunny Days.
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