- Community Empowerment
Going to school should be a memorable mixture of experiences: learning and laughter, creativity and critical thinking, nurturing and increasing independence, enjoying today while planning for tomorrow.
But in more than five hundred public schools across Jordan, for nearly 300,000 students, going to school is not as fun, enjoyable, or informative an experience as it should be.
Pitted playgrounds, broken water taps, no shelter from the sun, dreary classrooms, not enough textbooks, light-fittings hanging from the wall, peeling paintwork…and more.
Bright futures don’t start with days like this.
Madrasati brings together businesses, non-governmental organizations, and communities, as well as the Ministry of Education, to rejuvenate schools in need. It joins businesspeople, parents, neighbors, and pupils in a common goal: quality education for Jordan’s children.
It’s about sharing responsibility for our children’s education.
And that takes many forms, because Madrasati is more than a one time, top-down infusion of resources. More than repairing broken windows, providing new chairs, painting classrooms, and creating safe and fun playgrounds, Madrasati designs programs to enhance existing curricula and enrich every child’s learning for the long-term.
Madrasati’s success has fostered a network of partners. NGOs now offer expertise in issues like bullying and abuse; confidence and self-expression are inspired through drama classes, art, and problem solving in the local Children’s Museum; computers are installed and technical skills are taught by IT graduates who train teachers to ensure technologies liven up lessons, not lie latent; CEOs share their entrepreneurial experience and teach students how to find their dream job; and health and nutrition classes reach out to parents and children encouraging them to be more active and eat a balanced diet, together.
Each time I visit a Madrasati school, I see the emotional and psychological effect this initiative is having as well. And I can’t help but smile. It might be that children hold their heads up high as they walk into school, or they chatter excitedly in the playground; perhaps it’s a student’s face as she gazes at a bright, new mural, or it’s the brisk strides of teachers as they walk into their secure and clean classrooms; maybe it’s the eager eyes and the hands thrust high when a tutor asks for volunteers for a new project.
Whatever it is, the atmosphere in a Madrasati school is positive; the teachers and students are happy; there’s a buzz of productivity and purpose. That makes me proud.
But, there’s a lot more to do. Madrasati must continue and grow. With almost 40 per cent of our population under the age of fifteen, and an estimated 30 per cent of our young people unemployed, education is the key to unlocking our future prosperity.
So far, we have revitalized and mobilized almost 200 schools and communities, and as of April 2010, we began work on another hundred. Our goal is five hundred schools in five years. But we cannot do it alone. The generous sponsorship of companies, NGOs, and government departments means that over 100,000 children are being reached by the Madrasati initiative. Others eagerly await their school to become a Madrasati school, but we need more support and more engagement from businesses and communities.
If you want to be part of the Madrasati movement, and join those making a difference for thousands of Jordan’s children, please log on to www.madrasati.jo