Queen Rania Visits School, Community Center, and Oldest Resident of Al Shgeig

September 28, 2006

(Office of Her Majesty – Press Department – Madaba) - Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah visited the village of Al Shgeig, near Madaba, today, where citizens voiced their concerns and highlighted the need to improve the infrastructure and living conditions in their community. 

The village is in a remote area near the district of Theeban, and some of the problems the citizens face include a lack of access to transportation, clean water and electricity. 

While visiting the Al Shgeig Women's Association, Her Majesty assured the members of the association that she would do her best to give the citizens what they need.

Since transportation is one of the biggest problems in the area, the association brings in products and essentials to sell at cost, thus reducing the burden on the citizens. The women of the association also participate in basket weaving projects to generate income. 

After speaking with the members of the association and some of their beneficiaries, Her Majesty stopped in to see some of the baskets as they were being produced.

 While there, Her Majesty also visited the Al Shgeig Primary School where a number of fourth graders took a break from their daily studies to receive the Queen. The school, which is less than a year old, was founded when community members noted that the other schools in the area were too far for their children to walk to. 

Although the location makes access to education more convenient for the students, faculty members said that their main concern is the lack of transportation for their students. Another concern, said the principal, was the lack of a canopy in the schoolyard to protect the children from both the harsh summer sun and the cold winter rain preventing them from being active. 

Queen Rania and the school principal toured the four-room building. Among one of the facilities, is a small computer room, where two students were learning how to use various programs. While a little shy and reserved at first, the young students eventually discussed their interest in technology with the Queen and expressed their wishes that they had more frequent access. 

As she left the school, Her Majesty walked over to the nearby home of Fathia Al Shakhanbeh, who, at 125 years old, happens to be the oldest resident of Al Shgeig. Her Majesty inquired about her health and wished her and her family a happy Ramadan. 

In 2005, Queen Rania supported the construction of a local park and a children's library in the area. Today, she passed by the location to see the developments. The library, which is supported in part by the Jordan River Foundation (JRF), is slowly building a collection of books and educational resources. A member of JRF staff was on site to give Her Majesty the details and discuss the foundation's work to promote sustainable rural economy. 
Queen Rania was also briefed about a nearby Almond Orchard Project, which has already generated a JD 12,000-income for the local community. The weather conditions in the area make it an ideal place to grow some of the most delicious almonds.