Ammanis come together to help homeless man get back on his feet

Published October 20th, 2016 - 05:45 GMT
Abu Ali, 48, was hit by family problems that led to mental illness and lived in a park before activists came to his aid. (Facebook)
Abu Ali, 48, was hit by family problems that led to mental illness and lived in a park before activists came to his aid. (Facebook)

Residents of Amman's Hai Nazzal neighbourhood have collaborated in giving a hand to a homeless man recently found at a public park in Jordan.

Members of the local community identified Abu Ali, 48, as a "well-educated, well-cultured man" who speaks good English and used to work as a translator and helped people with their visa applications.

They said he lived in the US for a while and got married there, but when he returned to Jordan he faced difficult family conditions that caused him constant stress and led to mental illness.

He lived alone under a stairwell in a complex in Abu Alanda for two years before he returned to live in Al Shura Park in Hai Nazzal, in southwest Amman, believing that people might help him, according to Raad Majali, a social activist and volunteer in the area.

"The entire community — people from all ages contributed to the cause even in small amounts… Everyone wanted to help," he told The Jordan Times on Wednesday.

"People love to do good for those in need, but most of the time they don't know how," Majali, who helped Abu Ali receive a medical check-up and obtain identification documents, added.

The 48-year-old currently lives in a furnished apartment that was provided for him. 

All these efforts to help Abu Ali came about after a member of a Facebook page concerned with Hai Nazzal and Dahiyat Al Yasmin neighborhoods shared his photo sleeping at the park. 

Drivers of service taxis, private mini vans, workers at cafeterias, employees, owners of apartments and all Hai Nazzal residents have contributed to solving Abu Ali's issue, said Ammar Amira, one of the activists who created and worked on coordinating contributions.

"We want to refute the idea that young men in the poor suburbs of Amman are troublemakers… This is who we really are and we want to encourage other young people to carry on similar acts," he said.

Since the page was created in 2011, it has helped in serving the area and solving many problems, Amira said. It has over 31,000 followers now.

While trying to resolve Abu Ali's issue, the local community was able to address four other issues for residents in the area, including healthcare and legal aid, Amira said, criticising the absence of governmental intervention to help in the case.

Abu Ali, who was previously admitted into a mental health institution, told The Jordan Times that he is happy to receive the community's help, adding that he hopes that his medical condition will be stable after one or two more therapy sessions.

Members of the community provided Abu Ali with a computer, a printer and an Internet connection so he can return to work and be productive.

"I am very grateful," he concluded.

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