With schools still closed in Jordan, RC girls could not be more excited to be back in basketball season and reconnect after winter break! For the past several weeks, participants in Amman and Zarqa have been learning to dribble the ball and practicing other basic techniques, while touching on important topics like teamwork and how to manage their reactions - on and off the court.
Before the start of the season, a former player from the Jordanian Basketball National Team came to run on-court training for the RC coaches. The clinic gave the coaches the opportunity to build on training and experiences from the previous year, learn new drills, and develop a plan for the coming months.
As we continue to see the negative impacts from the pandemic, especially for youth, we are incredibly grateful to be able to continue to provide an outlet for our participants. Our coaches regularly hear how important RC is to the girls and families we work with, especially at a time with so much uncertainty. One of our coaches recently received a message from the mother of a participant who was recently relocated with her family:
"Our sincere thanks and appreciation for all your tremendous efforts, your continued support, and for providing this safe environment for our children to stay active, play sport and have fun. All of this had a great impact on our daughter Aram - she became less stressed and helped reduce all the pressure she used to go through, be it on the streets or in school. We will always remember with love and gratitude the hands that offered all that is good to our children; you have been the best support to us in the darkest times.”
Positive feedback from participants and their families motivates us to do more and develop ways to expand our current curriculum and reach more girls in Jordan. As we prepare to spread to new communities, we’re also connecting with partners in our existing locations.
After a long pandemic break, we returned to working with our partners at 7Hills Skate Park in downtown Amman. For the next few months, RC girls will have the chance to learn a new sport as they take their try at skateboarding!
For the next year, four members of the RC team will take part in the first Global Goals World Cup EIR coach training program in Jordan. They are part of a group of 100 women working side-by-side to fight for the UN Global Goals and close the "play gap" between girls and boys. Coaches recently completed their first training sessions where they learned techniques for speaking up in a group, planning team practices, and building environments where women can feel accepted and not judged - one of the tenets of RC culture.
Thank you for your continued support as we work to create safe and inclusive spaces for the girls and women in our program!
Reclaim Childhood had one of our most successful summer seasons to date! Our dedicated team of coaches and interns provided 6 weeks of programming for refugee and local girls from 8 different countries. By adapting our traditional camp model to include multiple weekly sessions over the course of the summer, our girls were able to spend more time outdoors safely playing, connecting with each other, and working to overcome the social and emotional impacts of isolation from the past year.
Now, we're more excited than ever to be back on the field for the start of our 2021-22 programs! Our dedicated team of coaches spent hours planning sessions, recruiting girls, and brushing up on coaching techniques in preparation for our fall season. For three months, over 200 local and refugee girls in East Amman and Zarqa will be taking part in Reclaim Childhood's after school soccer and frisbee programs. Weekly practices combine technical skills like dribbling and shooting with social and emotional skills such as self-confidence and collaboration.
Before the start of our fall soccer season, some of our coaches traveled to Berlin to take part in the 2021 Discover Football Festival. The event brought 100 players, coaches, referees and activists from around the world together for three days of workshops, training sessions, and peer exchanges. This year's festival theme was focused on health, giving participants an opportunity to discuss their experiences in the pandemic and learn new techniques for implementing sport in a changing society.
With the start of fall programs, we also welcomed a new cohort of participants into our Qudrati Teen Leadership Program. Qudrati means "my ability," which is the focus of the program - helping RC participants ages 14 and up explore and expand on their own abilities. Girls meet on the weekends to discuss topics important to their lives and their communities, strengthening their leadership skills both on and off the playing field.
It is shaping out to be another impactful year at Reclaim Childhood! We're excited for potential new partnerships and opportunities to grow our current programs. Thank you for your continued support as we work to create safe and inclusive spaces for the girls and women in the program.
While COVID19 restrictions and modified programming dominated our spring season, we were thrilled to be able to get back onto the field for two weeks of frisbee between Ramadan and school exams. RC coaches wrapped up the spring season by participating in the first ever Global Goals World Cup, with a few coaches even being featured in the recently premiered short film “Dare to Play” on Al-Jazeera.
And this week, RC is kicking off summer camps in Amman and Zarqa with training for coaches and interns as we prepare for days full of soccer, basketball, frisbee, dance, self-defense and more!
With Jordan’s COVID19 restrictions being gradually lifted and vaccination rates increasing, RC is excited to begin 6-weeks of summer camp. Camp will still look different than pre-pandemic programming to ensure public health and safety precautions are maintained, with four separate groups of 60 girls in Amman and Zarqa, divided into smaller groups and different stations, meeting twice per week, always outside. Despite still operating in a more narrow capacity compared to previous summer camps with hundreds of girls, we are looking forward to seeing our community come together in greater numbers for the first time in more than a year.
As the summer months unfold and the COVID19 situation continues to improve, we are working diligently to expand RC’s programming capabilities to reach more girls and communities around Jordan. Thank you for your continued support of Reclaim Childhood as we look to the future!
Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, RC had developed a standard program model, adapted from years of experience and rolled out in its most updated form in January 2019. Four practices per week in each city, two for the younger girls and two for the older age group. 50 girls in each group, with five coaches, for a player:coach ratio of just 10:1. Girls would have snack time and warm up together, break into small groups for skill development, and then come back together for big games and discussions on practice themes led by the coaches.
It has now been almost a year since we ran one of these “normal” practices. In the months since our last project update alone, we have rolled back from in-person programming to completely virtual, run small group off-field activities, and then transitioned into our current “hybrid” model. Today, girls are participating in two weekly practices: one in-person on the basketball court and one on Zoom to get moving and connect with coaches and friends from their homes.
In December, we hosted group Zoom sessions with the mothers of over 80 girls in the program to check in on families’ well-being and reflections on 2020. They spoke of challenging times for their families, with increasing economic and health concerns, as well as worries about their daughters’ access to education. They also spoke of how RC has become an even more valuable outlet in the face of these challenges, describing how their daughters became stronger and returned from practice “energetic and optimistic”, emotions that have often been in short supply this year. We were almost as excited as the girls to welcome them back to basketball when sports re-opened on February 1, and the flexibility that defined 2020 has continued to be vital as we strive to remain a consistent source of support in 2021.
Up next, we’re looking forward to celebrating International Women’s Week from March 8-12 – on the field, on Zoom practices, and here on GlobalGiving alongside so many amazing organizations serving women and girls. We’d love to have you join us!
Since our last check-in, RC’s participants and coaches have successfully returned to the sports field following the gradual easing of government lockdowns in Jordan. This summer, we adapted our standard summer program to focus on physically distanced soccer drills and new safety procedures, which included sanitizing equipment, extra buses to allow for distancing, and switching out scrimmages for non-contact activities. Since the beginning of the fall soccer season, these same procedures have been in use to ensure we can continue to offer girls a break from isolated environments, and get them onto the field with their RC community.
While we are thrilled to have girls back in person for modified versions of both the summer and fall sports seasons, the situation - and our response - continues to evolve. With Jordanian schools opening briefly before returning to online learning and rolling lockdowns, we are constantly adapting programming. Despite this constantly evolving schedule, RC and its coaches have been able to remain a consistent presence in girls' lives with the support of donors like you.
The ability to provide safe spaces for girls to play and connect has become only more urgent throughout the COVID19 pandemic, as women and girls are disproportionately affected by its negative impacts. As the pandemic continues to compound the inequalities already so present in girls' lives, RC finds itself in a unique position to combat social isolation and act as a place of healing, and of fun. We thank you for supporting RC’s work in providing these safe and inclusive spaces for hundreds of girls in Jordan!
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