2017/ Ahmad al abdulla and Majed Qasha’am / Azraq camp- Jordan
We Love Reading started its training sessions inside the refugees’ camps (Azraq and JEC) along with partner organizations in May 2016. Life inside Azraq camp is different from that of other camps where WLR works. The refugees inside Azraq camp live in the midst of difficult conditions, including water and electricity shortages and unfit shelters, and these circumstances comprise an additional challenge for WLR.
At the beginning, sources from inside the camp told us that the initiative would not succeed in Azraq camp because the refugees were mainly concerned with satisfying basic needs such as food, water, and shelter. They said the refugee community would not value entertainment or reading to their children. Many of the parents do not send their children to school because they believe there is no point of education when they live in such difficult conditions. This significantly raises the proportion of children that cannot read or write. Keeping these concerns and doubts in mind, WLR and its volunteers set off to prove that reading is important to everyone, even if they are refugees.
We held two WLR trainings in the Azraq camp and after realizing the significance of the training on the first day, Ahmed Al Abdullah (Abu Layth) asked the trainers to let his wife attend the training as well. He knew that his wife had a special talent for public speaking. On the second day of the training, his wife Majd Qasham joined and was very excited to read aloud after her husband and the instructors filled her in on the previous session. After the training, all the trainees became WLR ambassadors and opened libraries. One month later, we visited Abu Layth and his wife to follow up on the progress of their reading sessions. We found more than 30 children of different ages in attendance, and they told us that the number of children attending grows every day. They were interested in listening to the stories and Majd told us that she had always wanted to be an ambassador. When she told her father that she is now a WLR ambassador, he sent her the following poem in response:
I like that you are a bookworm
So that the bad things will go away
And your thinking will be clear.
The book is the road for people who love life,
Who will be a good friend
And will not leave you or disappear.
Books are the way to achieving glory
That show you the best path.