Jordanian Kids Take Back Their Streets

This is an “in case you missed it” post. There is a very cool article on that is definitely worth reading, especially if, like me, you are constantly searching for some validation that not all is lost; still searching for hope. Given their socioeconomic environment and actual environment, these kids should be given a medal for what they’re doing. As for the moral of the story: if you really want to change the bad cultural habits in Jordan, I think all Jordanians should have some skin in the game, specifically at the community level. This is a perfect example of that.

[Read On 7iber]

7iber amman youth

7iber amman youth


  • i read this article a couple of days ago off 7iber and was really impressed by how much responsibility these kids display collectively towards their community.. they made actual change! it would also be great if such an uplifting story is posted in a mainstream newspaper to reach a wider range of readers!

  • I wasn’t planning on commenting on this particular topic since it involves children trying to keep their neighborhood aesthetically acceptable, but since you asked I’ll let you have my two cents worth.

    First the title, you don’t take back your neighborhood when it is littered with debris, you take back your neighborhood when it is besieged by pimps, drug addicts, prostitutes, pedophiles, bullies, thugs, and brigands. Therefore, the title is not matching with the text. any other title would have been more befitting than this one.

    Second, the story doesn’t explain whether this was a one time spontaneous effort on the part of the kids or it is an organized ongoing effort that will be frequently scheduled and managed by adults.

    Third, who is organizing this project, who is providing the necessary tools and supplies for the project, who is financing the project, who is ensuring that the chores will be implemented according to schedule.

    The reason I say that because I grew up down the street from Alashrafiyah in Jabal ATaj and I know how quickly the litter, dirt, debris, and all kinds of garbage can gather almost over night, so if there is no organized effort to have it controlled on an going basis, the one time effort will be good only for that one day or one afternoon when the kids finished their sweeping and garbage collecting, by night fall and the next morning, a brand new situation rises up and present a brand new challenge.

    Third, Who is making sure that the kids are safe while they are working, looking at the pictures I can tell that they weren’t wearing cotton gloves to protect their hands in the event that they pick up broken glass, or sharp edged metal cans, or any other object that might cause a safety concern.

    Fourth, who is financing the project, again, looking at the picture reveals that the children were using improper tools for the task at hands, the brooms that they were utilizing aren’t ergonomically designed, they are two shrot, the dust pans are the home type and aren’t made to pick up street debris, they weren’t wearing paper masks to protect them against breathing the sand, dust, and pollen straight into their lungs.

    Fifth, there was no mentioning about any incentives for the kids to keep them motivated.

    So if some or all of these concerns were to be addressed and consequently applied, the project will be called a success, but in the absence of adult supervision, proper tools, equipment, and supplies, action plan for future occurrences, continuous review and deficiency elimination, and most importantly some incentives, then it is a one time event that was probably forgotten on the same day that it took place.

  • secratea: this is an interesting subject: while we have nationwide newspapers, there are few to no local papers. If you look at big western cities (some of which are as big as amman) there are many very local papers, covering very local events in certain districts. i think al-weibdeh has some sort of magazine going on, but there’s no door-to-door free weekly paper discussing the local ongoings.

    something to think about 😉

    hatem, well i didn’t ask, but thanks for commenting anyways. i’m glad the subject matter was important enough to warrant a comment from you. 🙂

    first, to take back one’s streets is to rid it of all the corrupted elements that plague it. why does it have to revolve around sex and drugs only? to take back one’s street can also include ridding one’s streets of the corrupted elements that plague its environment such as litter and even traffic congestion.

    second, your questions are valid, however to point out the obvious, it is a continuous effort. otherwise it would be two writers who just stumbled upon the neighbourhood the exact moment when a bunch of local kids decided to clean their streets up, and that would be quite a coincidence.

    third, when you said “third” the second time, you really meant “fourth”.

    fourth, “ergonomically designed” brooms for a bunch of local kids that decided to clean up their streets? Hopefully I don’t have to point out that not much has changed since you left east Amman many years ago. This is a very neighbourhood initiative, aided by a local woman who helps them out. it’s not a USAID-funded, NGO-sponsored, nation-wide initiative. everything starts small.

    fifth, you should write for about your experiences as a child growing up in jabal il-taj. that might make as an interesting read!


  • “…in the absence of adult supervision, proper tools, equipment, and supplies, action plan for future occurrences, continuous review and deficiency elimination, and most importantly some incentives, then it is a one time event that was probably forgotten on the same day that it took place.”

    Yeah, that’s the spirit, Hatem!

    These kids don’t need passion, they need Jordanian bureacracy!

    Why don’t you pop down there with a Health & Safety officer, the local imam, a policeman, a magistrate and a lawyer, and you can draw up a spreadhseet to allocate tasks and create a quorum of community leaders to set up discussion groups…. and I guarantee the streets will be deserted before you can say “Section 2, subsection 4: The correct means to dispose of plastic milk bottles”.

    No, instead of congratulating a spontaneous effort by some kids from an economically deprived area, who are displaying maturity and responsibility to try an improve their immediate environment, you become a tedious advoate champion of official meddling that would prevent anything being done at all…

    “Ergonomically-designed brooms”…????!?!

    I think you’ve just won the Marie Antoinette Award for Chronic Lack of Social Awreness…

  • I so would have missed this Nas, thanks! I’m extremely glad to see an article like this. It is exactly more of what Jordan needs. American programs like neighborhood watch came about exactly like this. People looked around and saw an issue something they couldn’t live with, that was unacceptable to them. So, they organized themselves and “took back their streets” from crime and criminals. In my very humble opinion, the trash that overwhelms all of Amman is as much a plague as crime in many US neighborhoods. And, the trash tends to depress the spirit of people, ther ability to have beauty and joy in their lives. Kudos to these kids for developing a sense of community – something that is sadly lacking in Jordan… If I understand that I am part of the problem, then I can become part of the solution.

  • You know, and one more thought. This sort of grassroots movement, where people make a real difference in their own lives brings amazing benefits to these kids. As they grow older and get out into the world, they will begin to realize that yes, they can change the world. Talk about teaching lessons of empowerment! They don’t need adults (or the city or the Kingdom) to empower them, they have power and have chosen to use it wisely. Good Job!

  • Hatem. I am sorry, but your comment is shocking. It’s not because you pointed out a number of valid concerns. It’s just that you couldn’t get yourself to say one positive thing. Your comment sounds like a legal audit more than anything else..

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