A loving hard working mother to tens in fact to hundreds of poor and orphaned children, a compassionate sister and teacher to many illiterate women. Her eyes tear up with tenderness and kindness when she speaks out about her students. She has a passion for volunteer work and finds her happiness in raising awareness to the needy and orphaned. She is Samar Al Jaoni founder of Literacy center in Marka – Jordan.
Samar Jaoni tells Arab Woman Mag about her beginnings,
“After my retirement, I wanted to help underprivileged women in one of the poor neighborhoods to teach them the Holy Quran; I was shocked to find out that most of them couldn’t read, and I was even more shaken when I realized that even most of the regular students in that neighborhood struggled with reading. Then I decided to work with all my might to help erase illiteracy in that neglected area.”
Some of the challenges and obstacles that faced her… Samar continues,
“Poverty and illiteracy are eating up our society, especially deficiency in intellect that is reflected in social aspects such as violence against women, early aged marriages, and arranged marriages which is very widely spread is such areas. And this is unjust circumstances that a woman may one day wake up to find herself divorced for no fault of her own just because her brother’s marriage failed to her sister therefor the same fate awaits her; there is almost a divorced woman in every household. In such conditions it is hard to convince women and children to stay motivated and come to the center to learn. Not to mentions sometimes the husband’s stubbornness stands in the way of the woman wanting to learn and benefit her children. Still and with God’s help and the support of the mosque’s Sheikh and using the reward system the center is packed with women and children from the ages 4 up to 70 whom have a desire to learn.
We offer lessons in Mathematics, Arabic and English languages, Islamic studies and general studies. We also provide awareness lectures given by volunteers in different topics such as racism, drug abuse, loyalty and the marital rights of spouses.
I worked under the umbrella of the Jordanian Relief Foundation and the Ministry of Education yet I did not stop at their curriculum I went on to add my own syllabus that I gained through my experience in the center.”
Samar wanted the immersion of orphaned children in her center to help benefit them by being introduced to other orphans in the area and make use of the varied activities in the center. Samar insisted on their attendance and came up with a unique way to help encourage their presence by giving each child that shows up a sum of money (offered by donors) as indemnity on the condition that they commit to coming to the center. This way made it easy to gather the children for different activities such as outings, breaking fast in Ramadan, and providing awareness and educational courses.
“I did not find a difference when dealing with orphaned children and other children, unfortunately many parents in such neighborhoods do not do their significant role as parents, on the contrary some even have negative impact on their children.
Now I am in the process of putting the foundations for a new project that would serve the women in the center whom have a talent for embroidery with the aim of encouraging them of being productive and independent. Additionally I continue to follow up on graduates of the center and offer advice on how to start on a new productive life and stay on the right path.
My ambition and dream is to develop a complete educational project for our poor children and youth to put all their energy and talents in, were they would be guided and assisted. My desire is to remove all those children off the streets and into the classrooms, useful establishments and vocational centers and soon after the work-force.”