Initiative makes it 'entertaining for children to take care ...| MENAFN.COM

Monday, 27 June 2022 04:42 GMT

Initiative makes it 'entertaining for children to take care of others'

(MENAFN- Jordan Times) AMMAN — "We make it fun and entertaining for our children to take care of other people," said Dina Saoudi, a mother of two boys taking part in the "My Jacket" campaign held at the Landmark Hotel on Thursday.

Organised by the local organisation "Little Volunteers", in collaboration with Playground, Kids Party Plus and Landmark Hotel, which supported the event voluntarily, the day saw the participation of over 150 kids, including 75 less fortunate children from a school in Jabal Amman.

"When you look at these kids playing and laughing, there is no way to tell which ones came from the underprivileged school. They are all mixed together and having fun without distinction," noted Layla Al Qasim, head of strategic engagement and sustainability projects at Landmark.

The 2nd edition of the campaign, which aims to raise funds to buy jackets for children in need, offers kids the opportunity to interact with peers from vulnerable backgrounds, in a day filled with music, dance, arts and crafts and magic show.

Separated into five groups of 20 children each, the participants were offered a number of fun activities by volunteers, who took care of them, while their parents exchanged and discussed the projects of "Little Volunteers".

"We have six different stations, where the kids stay for 15 minutes before rotating to the next. There is the archery booth, the young Rembrandts, the one where they have to race with a spoon and a ping pong ball without dropping it, the pulling a rope activity, etc," Qasim told The Jordan Times at the event.

"All those activities are done in a group setting so that all kids have fun together and make new friends," she said, noting that her own six-year-old daughter Raya already came up to her telling that she has several new friends.

"We encourage the exchange between children, because this is how they learn the importance of sharing and being kind to each other," said Zeina Asfour, the founder of Little Volunteers, who stressed that she only came up with the idea of the event, while that all the work has been done in cooperation with the volunteers.

"Everyone loves to do good, people just don't know where to turn to. When I started the jacket campaign, I had a huge turnout of people who wanted to help and volunteer," she recalled.

This lack of "places to turn to" when wanting to volunteer is what pushed this single mother of two to start "Little Volunteers" in 2014, after she realised the lack of initiatives available for people willing to engage their young kids in volunteerism.

"I wanted to instill those values of solidarity in my three-year-old, but the only projects available were in private schools and targeted teens or older kids," Asfour remembered, adding that "so, I gathered 30 other kids for her not to feel alone and I started our initiative".

Saoudi and Qasim were some of the first mums having their children "test" the project with Asfour, and they have been part of every single activity since.

"I do not want to guilt my daughter into being kind to others. I want her to have fun while taking care of her peers, so she can appreciate the value of kindness," Saoudi said, echoing Asfour's idea that "children should not be positioned as 'victims' or 'underpvileged' while others are seen as 'heros' or 'givers'. Instead, they should all be together and learn to be responsible for themselves, their peers, and society as a whole".

Embodying that idea, one of the activities was the "Jar Sharing", where each child decorated a jar named after them and wrote a kind note placed inside, which they then exchanged with one of their new friend, regardless of their background.

All proceeds collected from the entrance fee will go to buying winter jackets, which will be distributed to less fortunate children ahead of the cold season, Asfour concluded.


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