Dana Abu-Ryash in one of the learning through play classrooms

Learning Through Play for Al-Dlail’s Children

21 years old Dana Abu-Ryash has a bachelor degree in English Language and Literature but her thinking goes beyond the traditional track of college graduates in Jordan. She is the mastermind behind a UNDP-supported initiative in Al-Dlail — Zarqaa governorate which aims at helping children learn while they engage in fun activities that develop their creative thinking abilities.

I was very shy and self-aware before I joined UNDP’s project despite of volunteering in many initiatives.

“I was very shy and self-aware before I joined UNDP’s project despite of volunteering in many initiatives.” Says Dana about her experience as a participant and facilitator in UNDP’s Emergency Employment Project (3x6 approach) in Al-Dlail — Zarqaa governorate. She adds : “the most beneficial training sessions for me were those about personal development and growth, creative thinking and communication and inter-personal skills”.

Many of Al-Dlail parents are illiterate hence can’t support their kids’ education in the best way possible. Dana was focused on that fact, and decided to support children in her neighborhood and the surrounding areas through introducing a new educational method; learning through play.

Children learn through play with the help of one of UNDP’s beneficiaries

Dana and her group target school kids from the 1st to the 6th grade, focusing on those with learning difficulties or those who can’t read and write. The children start their two-hours of learning with traditional teaching and hands-on exercises for one hour followed by playing for another hour.

“We also train 6th-10th graders on drawing, football, tennis and running a marathon before enrolling them in school tournaments which we organize” says Dana excitedly. Her community initiative is all about the development of children in Al-Dlail whether in education, sport or art. Last week for example, Dana and her friends entertained the kids with an interactive theatre.

They started in January, and many of them have already learned the alphabets and numbers in both Arabic and English. Those who didn’t know how to read and write have made a great progress.

Dana is very proud of her little students; “they started in January, and many of them have already learned the alphabets and numbers in both Arabic and English. Those who didn’t know how to read and write have made a great progress.” School teachers have noticed the change too.

Boys from Al-Dlail playing football

Dana Abu-Ryash’s initiative is part of the first phase of UNDP’s Emergency Employment Project during which participants plan and implement community initiatives that respond to the immediate needs of their local communities.

UNDP’s Emergency Employment Project (3x6 approach) in Zarqa governorate, is funded by the government of Japan and World Food Programme (WFP) and in collaboration with the National Microfinance Bank.