Project archive for Mafraq

Mafraq Special Education Summer Camp

Award Amount: $98.59
Volunteer(s): S. Hubbell
Locations(s): Mafraq
Dates(s): August 2010
Participants: 9 male, 18 female

To engage our students socially during the summer months, the Mafraq Center for Training and Rehabilitation hosted a summer day camp for its students. We had seventeen students come to the camp funded by a grant from Friends of Jordan. At this camp, we incorporated art, sports, games, and a nice meal to encourage creativity, physical activity, social expectations (such as sharing and turn-taking), hygiene (hand-washing, teeth-brushing), and self-esteem development. Our activities included morning stretches, finger-painting, sports (balloon-pop and sack races), games (musical chairs and freeze-dance), face-painting, and balloon animals. We spread out each activity at stations throughout the center, with students moving through the stations in groups to keep the day organized. While our focus was on creating a fun environment for our students, we made sure to incorporate learning moments as well. We ended our camp with a falafel breakfast and afterwards distributing hygiene kits with toothbrushes and toothpaste for the kids to use. Friends of Jordan grant helped pay for all materials, including paint and paper, materials needed for the games, the breakfast, and hygiene kits.

Special Needs Summer Carnival

Award Amount: $150.00
Volunteer(s): S. Bender,
Locations(s): Al Amal Center Ramtha, Al Almal Center Hebras, Salah Adin Special Education Society, Al Amal Center Mafraq, Al Manshiya Special Education Society, Alkoura Alshamel Special Education Center
Governorate(s): ,,,
Dates(s): May 2010
Participants: 178 students, 15 university volunteers, 8 PCVs

The Carnival opened with performances by students from each of our centers. One student did a beautiful reading from the Qu’ran, another sang a popular children’s song, and the remaining centers performed various dances. After the “opening ceremonies,” the students were free to roam the gymnasium to the difference activities as they pleased. Each center was in charge of one activity, which was maintained and run throughout the Carnival by both volunteers (Peace Corps and University) as well as the teachers themselves. The Carnival day finished as a shawarma lunch was served.

By putting each center in charge of one activity, the teachers and directors were encouraged to take some responsibility for the planning of the event. Through the planning and designing of each of these activities, teachers and directors from each center were able to see the ways that planning fun activities that still address various social and motor skills can benefit the students. In addition, the activity responsibility section of the Carnival helped each center think outside of the box for their activities. Because of our limited budget, each center was encouraged to design activities that included materials they already had, rather than come up with activities that would involve purchasing new resources (not all centers succeeded at this, but the fact that some did is definitely a small success). Come the day of the Carnival, it was very impressive to see that each center had indeed pulled their weight and come together to provide a plethora of activities for the students to enjoy and participate in.

Sports and English Summer Camp

Award Amount: $112.00
Volunteer(s): K. Willey
Locations(s): Al-Mkaiftah
Dates(s): June-August 2009
Participants: 55 female students, age 9-14

Knowing that my students need not only a place to practice and learn new English skills, but that more importantly they need learning presented in a fun atmosphere and they need to achieve some noticable success in learning English, so that they are encouraged to contine learning.  I designed three special camps, one week each,  for different age groups (3th & 4th, 5 & 6th, 7 & 8th).  For the younger grades the camp focused on important phonics skills so that they can master the skill of reading and be ready to tackle the new curriculum in the coming grades.  For the older students, the English lessons focused on mastering basic skills and the focal point was a word competition which help the students to memorize and use the 1st-6th grade vocabulary so that they can be more focused and participate more in their regular lessons at school.  The lessons in these camps brought the students up to where they need to be, so that English class can be fun and it proved to the students that they can learn and make sense of English.


Most importantly these camps were fun.  Each lesson was followed by a game or competition to practice the skill learned.  And for the older two age groups half of camp time was dedicated to learning about and playing new sports and games.  The girls of my village do not get to play outside and are unfamiliar with sports and team games, but over the week we learned about and played basketball, volleyball, soccer, relay races, frisbee, dodge ball, and homerun derby.  This was the girls favorite part of camp.  At first they were timid and shy about trying the new sports and often a girl’s first response was “I don’t know how” or “I can’t”, but with some encouraging each girl tried the new games and had a great time.


In the end, camp was a great success with girls gaining experience in working together and trying new things, as well as, giving them an extra boost of encouragement with learning English.  I was so proud of the girls that completed this camp.  Each girl was rewarded with a certificate and small gift such as a coloring book or small toy.  As well, the top three girls of each group were rewarded with a dictionary or calculater to encourage them to continue their hard work at school and reward them for their effort.  Finally the fun doesn’t end now, because all the sports equipment and supplies purchased with FOJ funds will be donated to the school, so the girls can share what they learned with their friends at school and continue to learn and have fun all year.


“Sooreneee!” Self Expression through Photography

Award Amount: $140.00
Volunteer(s): L. Mahoney
Locations(s): Sabha
Dates(s): June-July 2009
Participants: 22 female, age 14-16

Soreenee a two week photography summer camp took place in Sabha, Mafraq from June 21st to July 2nd 2007. The camp operated every day from 3 to 6pm at the Sabha Secondary School for Girls. Twenty 9th and 10th grade girls sucessfully took part in the camp from start to finish. Friends of Jordan funds were utilized to purchase disposable cameras, develop pictures, and purchase art supplies.

The camp utlized the medium of photography to teach the girls about self-expression, to build self-estemm, and to practice English expression in written and spoken forms. Over the first days of camp the girls learned about the basics of photography such as parts of a camera, framing a picture, and choosing subjects through a scavenger hunt and a debate on the merits of different photographss. All activities took place in English and Arabic. The subsequent days of camp each focused on the themes community, family, and self. These themes were then the subject of the photographs the girls took at home. For the day discussing community girls created maps of their community and discussed the various communities in which they participated. The family themed day focused on “Oprah” interviews about each others families. On the self portrait day girls decorated posters for each other with compliments. They also created masks that displayed their personalities.

While self-expression is a difficult topic for the girls they were thrilled to have an opportunity to be creative and talk about their opinions. I was pleasantly surprised that many of the girls also attempted to verbally express themselves in English throughout these activities.

The second week of camp was dedicated to developing the photography exhibition. The girls rose to the occasion and I received each of the nine cameras I gave out back and in good enough condition to have their pictures developed. The girls chose their best pictures regarding each theme and created frames for the pictures. Participants planned the exhbition, created invitations, brought refreshments, and spoke to community members about the event.

A successfully photography exhibition was held on the last day of camp. Approximately fifty community members attended the event and viewed the girls work. The pride that the girls felt was palpable as they led their family members and friends around explaining their photographs. Numerous community members who did not attend the event asked if they exhibition would be open any other days. As a result of the camp participants had an opportunity to practice English, express themselves creatively, learn a new skill, and hold a public event. All these activities contributed to an increased confidence in the girls.


North Jordan Youth Leadership Camp

Award Amount: $280.00
Volunteer(s): D. Rosenblum, K. Schott, V. Ram, N. Christiansen, J. Todd, A. Brezinski
Locations(s): Mafraq
Governorate(s): ,,
Dates(s): June 2009
Participants: 45 males, age 14-16

Now in its third year the Ajloun Summer Camp expanded its area to include Mafraq students in its activities.  Students participating in the Teamwork Camp not only completed English activities but also sharpened their groupwork skills.  With funds received fom the Friends of Jordan PCVs arranged transportation for students from 7 different villages in the Ajloun and Mafraq areas.  8th and 9th graders from these villages completed criticial thinking and group work activities.  The activities challenged the students not only to think creatively, but also to work with new students and make new connections.

The program was designed to provide a setting that allowed students to meet other students and create new friends, and participate in different activities and games that encouraged developing leadership strategies, teamwork, and critical thinking skills.

The first event that students participated in was a serires of ice-breakers.  Students were divided into small groups and introduced to a variety of activities designed to reduce nerves and encourage participatioin.  Some of the ice-breakers the campers participated in included the ‘human-knot’ and the ‘name-game’.  Additionally, supervisors and camp volunteers were assigned to participate in each group in order to encourage and promote a higher level of interaction and trust between the students and program leaders.

After the completion of the ice-breakers, students remained in their groups and were presnted with a set of brain-teasers and puzzles.  The purpose of these questions was to promote critical and creative thinking amongst the participants, encourage communication and teamwork between team members, and provide leadership opportunities for the various students who spoke as team-leaders or offered explanations and solutions to the puzzles.

Other group activities that the campers participated in included a ‘team-race’, ‘up-jenkins’, ‘blind-dodgeball’, and ‘team air-soccer’.  All of the games were designed to promote and encourage a variety of skills sets, including teamwork, communication, critical listening, and leadership.  All of the activities allowed for interaction, teamwork, and communication between participants.  During the ‘team-race’ for example, all 35 camp participants had to work together in order to finish an obstacle course as one group at the same time.  In ‘blind-dodgeball’, campers were paired into groups.  One camper was blind folded, and had to follow the specific instructions of the partner in order to locate or dodge other teams.

In addition to the various events and activities, the participants also were treated to a group lunch, and provided with an opportunity to reflect on the days events and provide feedback.  By creating a post-camp survey in both English and Arabic, the volunteers and camp supervisors were able to develop a list of the most and least populat activities, and create a set of recommendations and areas of improvement for future camps and similar programs.



Portraits of Kom El-Ahmar Photography Exhibition

Award Amount: $150.00
Volunteer(s): M. Greer
Locations(s): Amman and Kom El-Ahmar
Governorate(s): ,
Dates(s): July-September 2006
Participants: 23 boys, ages 11-14

An additional FOJ grant was supposed to fund a second photography workshop in July 2006. However, delayed notification of grant status, difficulty contacting students after the school year, and lack of teacher commitment required a change in focus. Instead, the grant award was used to publish and exhibit the students’ photography. 35 photographs were professionally edited, enlarged, and printed to create a student exhibition. Arrangements were then made with the Canvas restaurant and art lounge in Amman, Jebel Lwebdiah to display the students’ work. Canvas was the ideal location because of its proximity to a local park and the National Gallery of Fine Art: it was the perfect destination for a student field trip.

Canvas even contributed lunch for the visiting students. The remainder of project funding was used to bring 24 students and two teachers on a trip to see their work displayed at Canvas, and visit the neighboring National Gallery and park. Despite the managerial challenges from 24 boys, all parties were thankful for the opportunities afforded by the trip. The story of our photography project, along with the student’s photographs are featured on the school’s new website:

Photography Workshop

Award Amount: $150.00
Volunteer(s): M. Greer
Locations(s): Kom El-Ahmar
Dates(s): July-August 2006
Participants: 23 boys, ages 12-14

We held a photography workshop in July for 6th and 7th graders. Students learned to identify important images in their daily lives and, through photography, present those images to family, friends, and the outside world. Each student received his own disposable camera, attended workshop lessons, and took four pictures a day on their own. Concluding the workshop, students selected their best pictures and created a photo gallery in one of the schoolrooms to display their work.

FOJ funding covered expenses for 23 disposable cameras, film developing, a photography field trip to a nearby historic site, and miscellaneous supplies. One effective planning method was requiring a 1 JD ($US 1.41) contribution from participating students. This ensured attendees were invested in the project and also allowed requesting matching grant funding to cover project expenses. Another effective tool would provide some sort of incentive to get Jordanian adults involved. Their participation would help workshop activities go more smoothly.

As a result of the workshop, students improved their photography and presentation abilities, received pictures to share with their families, and visited a nearby historic site. After the workshop ended, both students and parents expressed gratitude for the activities. Lastly, I created Kom El-Ahmar School in English website to display the best of our photography, and hopefully use for student writing during the school year. Please visit the site to see the students’ pictures.


Award Amount: $134.00
Volunteer(s): S. Benson
Locations(s): Al-Sa'diyya, Mafraq
Dates(s): June 2006
Participants: 11 students, ages 15-25

During the summer months the special education school in Al-Sa’diyya, The Charitable Childcare Association used money granted by FOJ to buy paints and paint supplies to paint playground equipment and classroom walls. Five vocational education students helped paint the newly installed playground equipment, giving them a sense of ownership and pride of their school. Two PCVs and two JICA volunteers helped paint the inside walls of our school white and then painted alphabet and number borders in each classroom. The project allowed us to make the school a more inviting place for students to return to in the new school year.

Camels in PetraRoman Column in Jerash
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