Ma’addi & Global Nomad Group’s Campfire Program

It might seem hard to believe that 15 year olds with limited resources can positively approach local solutions for a global issue like unemployment. But not for Al-Ma’addi school students in Balqa’a, Jordan! Upon completing the Campfire Program with GNG, students from Ma’addi School discussed their experience and how they feel they have become global nomads. With the guidance of their teacher, Mr. Hasan Al-Shoubaki, as well as the virtual support from their partners from Humanities in New York via GNG’s online platform, Ma’addi students were able to develop new skills through the program, and put them into practice for their final Global Citizenship Project.

For Campfire Ma’addi students, GNG Connect was a great space for sharing culture and discussing pertinent issues with their partners throughout the duration of the program. Because of this, they were able to dramatically improve their spoken and written English, which was clear from the increased complexity and understanding as the program progressed. This was certainly the case in the second module titled ‘Global Issues: Local Action’, where students from Ma’addi raised key issues facing both communities, notably youth unemployment, the refugee crisis and racism. Further to this, Ma’addi students were consistently quick and confident in their replies to their partners when presented with new information or questions, especially in the ‘Potential Problem Statements’ section concerning racism or unemployment. In initiating a discussion on youth unemployment, one student wrote, ‘Unemployed youth need jobs through the work of development projects to increase job opportunities. Extremism and terrorism is mainly due to unemployment’.

The students from Ma’addi took this one stage further, developing the idea of youth unemployment and the potential solutions to combat this problem in their community for their Global Citizenship Project. As one student, Fakheralddin Khataleen explained:

‘the world is going through many problems that are relevant to all countries, such as the problem of unemployment that targets the youth in particular. This project has helped us figure out and helped us in solving this problem in our region.’

Building on this, Laith Abuamarh, another student from Ma’addi describes how they managed to make a positive change, or at least raise awareness on this issue, in his community. ‘We’ve seen that unemployment is a global problem, and we tried to make the largest number of new job opportunities for the unemployed. We invited decision-makers to school and we held a seminar’, with the aim of teaching new job skills and how to successfully look for work. Throughout this process, Ma’addi students picked up a range of new skills aside from improving their English. The interviews that the students conducted as part of their project required confidence and ability to take the initiative in a discussion in order to gain the information they needed. The students described this experience as ‘very useful and interesting to identify the problem more broadly.’

The purpose of the campfire program is not solely to create a positive difference in the community. It also encourages students themselves to grow in confidence whilst thinking about how to tackle global issues, one of the main results of this being an increased awareness of other cultures and dialogue in solving these problems.

Ma’addi students, along with around 130 Campfire students in Jordan, certainly excelled in these areas. When the Ministry of Labor in Jordan learned about the project, they offered Mr. Mazin Hdeiris, Ma’addi School principal, to conduct a career fair on campus to attract as many unemployed youth in the area. Reflecting on the work his classmates did during Campfire, Fakheralddin wrote: ‘I am very, very proud of what I and my colleagues achieved through this project.’