Irbid, Jordan, is protesting the right to voluntarily clean city!
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Irbid Youth Volunteers:
About a 100 young students took to the Irbid streets, particularly Yarmouk University Street on the 12th of March in yellow reflector vests, brooms, dustpans and plastic bags as they took part in ‘Irbid Youth Volunteers’ first campaign.
Irbid Youth Volunteers started as an idea by the leading member Saeed Mohammad who was already involved in community work in the capital Amman. Saeed, along with other 5 other students; Ma’in, Firas, Dina, Saja and Sarah wanted to bring forth the volunteering spirit and culture and spread the concept of social entrepreneurship to the city of Irbid, the second biggest city in Jordan. The initiative plans on introducing rich and various events to the community to promote their definition of patriotism that is sadly misinterpreted in our day and age and is being translated through empty slogans and uncivilized actions.
The entire planning of the first event and bringing together of the youth happened through social media websites such as Facebook and twitter in which the youth communicated and got to know each other. The organizers then contacted the municipality as well as local printing house ‘Nardeen’ that provided them with badges and stickers as a form of support.
The group teamed up with the municipality of Irbid led by their chief Ma’moun Zyoud who provided them with 10 garbage collectors to accompany them in the cleaning of the most densely populated street in Irbid that brings together students from Yarmouk University and Jordan University of Science and Technology. The municipality also accompanied the volunteers to install orange eye-catching trash bins along the sides of the road in an attempt to not only clean the street but to put an end to the littering problem our streets suffer from.
The tens of students; coming from different nationalities, Jordanian, Palestinian, Syrian as well as Malaysian worked together as they started from Naseem traffic light and headed north towards the Yarmouk University roundabout. The youth varied in age as well, some were 17 year old school students, others university students and even 25 year old Masters students.
Rami Mousa, owner of a mini-market pointed out the need for such initiatives in the community especially the first event which he witnessed first hand. He expressed his disappointment on the lack of garbage bins in the street.
Volunteers who participated in this event agreed on the importance of community service, some mentioning the return to the community, others the return on their personalities as they felt they were practicing their full patriotism as well as breaking the cultural taboo of being a garbage collector who works day in and day out for the greater good of our country.
Part of the Malaysian community in Irbid participated in the event stressing on how they consider Jordan their second home that will house them and teach them for years before they go back carrying a clean and lovely image of its people to their family and friends.
Nabil Abed communicated his love to his country by helping make it clean and considered it a national duty. Adnan, Duha, Ali and most volunteers; when asked why they attended such event answered with things such as: responsibility, strength in unity, meeting friends that share their same mentality as well as discovering themselves and their own feelings through serving others. Leaving their print and expressing their love for Jordan was a common answer between most.
A big part of this campaign was to raise awareness on many levels, the first is to carry the picture of today’s youth that are educated, well cultured and willing to serve in any way they can. The group distributed stickers and fliers to people and store owners that carried encouraging slogans on keeping Irbid clean.
Many of those who witnessed this event expressed their interest and backed up the students, some even approached the group asking them who they were.
The organizers of the campaign will be working on several and diverse community service projects. Athletic, artistic, educational, environmental as well as public health are an example of the orientation while targeting all different sectors of the community from schools, universities, small business owners all the way to the elderly and the orphaned.
By Dina Batshon