Guest post by Ala’a Karss, Dhelal Shorman, Aseel Al Musa, Hiba Shabrouq and Nour Altobasi, 2017 fellows of Jordan
Editor’s note: The 2017 fellows of Jordan were one of five country cohorts to receive a $3,000 seed grant to support the implementation of their action plan that was developed during the 2017 TechWomen program. In addition to mentorship and cultural activities, TechWomen participants collaboratively work to develop an action plan to address a socioeconomic issue in their community alongside Impact Coaches.
We pitched our project, Ozwah, at Microsoft during the 2107 TechWomen action plan pitch competition, and we won a seed grant! Ozwah is an initiative that provides capacity building training and workshops for female orphans in Jordan, aiming to support these young women to reach their potential to become independent, open their eyes to undergraduate programs, connect them with scholarships and provide them with vocational training.
We began this project with hope and excitement for positive change: we believe that Ozwah can help build the future of hundreds of girls who do not have enough support to pursue their studies. Our team partnered with Princess Taghrid Institute (PTI), an organization that develops training programs for orphaned, abandoned and underprivileged youth in Jordan. With eight years of experience in this field, their expertise will help us achieve our goals more effectively and efficiently. We plan to announce Ozwah as an official initiative under the PTI umbrella for our first year of programming.
After acquiring the domain name for Ozwah, we started the process of developing the online platform. Knowing that social media is an effective tool for engagement, we created accounts for Ozwah on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. As we seek additional sponsorship and funding, we plan to meet with telecom and educational platform companies such as Orange and Zain.
We are also partnering with the Alchemist Lab, an organization that empowers youth through educational programming. Together we are developing selection criteria for trainers, mentors and orphaned girls to identify our pilot group.
We will begin our pilot program by selecting approximately 10 orphaned girls from the Suwaileh area in Amman, where we have developed a good relationship with the orphan center’s manager. We will celebrate the official launch of the project with PTI soon thereafter, inviting local leaders in order to build support and attract sponsorship from the community for our project.
For the first wave, we will conduct a bootcamp in partnership with the Alchemist Lab, consisting of several personality development workshops. We will assign mentors that can facilitate sessions and also help the girls achieve their goals. All the workshops will be filmed and uploaded to our website to help scale the positive impact of the project.
We are excited to continue working on Ozwah, and are looking forward to seeing its impact in our community.