Students from Coventry University have returned from the trip of a lifetime which saw them volunteer to help rejuvenate a deprived school in Jordan and build links with education providers in the country.
A group of 14 undergraduates from a range of courses across the University flew to the desert kingdom at the end of March as part of a unique programme which aimed to improve the education experience of Jordanian children.
The Majid AlSadi Changing Lives Programme, which is funded by Dr Majid AlSadi – a successful entrepreneur and alumnus of Coventry University – saw the students work with local kids to spruce up their school in the country’s capital, Amman, as well as teach them basic English.
The students also met with Peter Millett, British ambassador to Jordan, and – during a visit to the Jordan Media Institute in the capital – with Her Royal Highness Princess Rym of Jordan, who was keen to hear more about the programme.
Activities laid on by the students for children at the Tal’et Al-Roz School for Boys included painting the exterior of the school with creative artwork, conducting music lessons, mentoring on future career choices, and introducing them to new sports.
A football match between the Jordanian school teachers and the Coventry University students did not end so well for the undergraduates, with the teachers triumphing 7–4 over the visitors.
Before returning to the UK, the students had the opportunity to visit HRH Princess Rym’s Jordan Media Institute, where they met the princess and spent the day with students of the college’s MA in journalism and new media.
Anwar Meah, 20, from Birmingham, is a second year media production student who took part in the Majid AlSadi Changing Lives Programme. He said: “The whole experience was fantastic, and one that I would jump at the chance to repeat. I was first attracted by the opportunity to go abroad and be part of an effort to help children less fortunate than myself, but it’s all put in perspective when you actually meet the kids and become a part of their lives for a week. They were so enthusiastic and glad to see us, and so welcoming. We helped them learn some English and, hopefully, helped them to have a more positive outlook on what is possible for their future careers.
“The best part for me was when one kid came to school one morning and said he had dreamt how to say something to us in English. That alone made it worthwhile!”
The Majid AlSadi Changing Lives Programme was introduced in 2012 by Dr Majid AlSadi, chairman and CEO of investment company Eastern Holding and one of the University’s highest achieving alumni.
It has since funded opportunities for almost thirty Coventry University students to volunteer in Jordan in partnership with Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah’s initiative ’Madrasati’ – which aims to improve public schools across the country – and will fund a further visit for a group of students in September this year.
Dr Majid AlSadi, a PhD alumnus in mechanical engineering from the University, said: “It is my honour and corporate social responsibility as an entrepreneur to further education and improve economic conditions among young people. In a sense, we provide a smile on the faces of both children and their parents.”