Fostering Economic and Social Resilience
through Capacity Building Investing in people for a positive change ".

Unleashing people’s full potential to develop skills and competencies so as to take greater control of their own lives and also contributes to inclusive local development.

Safeguarding the Environment
" There is Only One Earth Every Person can Make a Difference.

 

We face triple planetary crisis: climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, and the increase in pollution and waste.

If everyone did one little efforts toward implementing the 5 R's of Zero-Waste lifestyle – Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Rot, we will have millions of actions to protect our earth.

Global citizens
" Connecting people for a more inclusive world " .

We educate and empower people to become globally competent.

We reinforce global competence and universal morality promoting values of respect, cultural diversity to create opportunities for all and advance a shared respect for human dignity.

What's New

PEACE: Psychological and Eco-social Aspects of Climate ChangE

Desert Bloom is a partner in "PEACE: Psychological and Eco-social Aspects of Climate ChangE" funded by EU (under Erasmus+ Key Action 2 Capacity Building in the Field of Youth). Project No. 101051323 ERASMUS-YOUTH-2021-CB. The project duration is 24 months and it had started in January 2022.

The project aims at:

  • Acknowledging feelings about climate change and learning ways of managing them “Not avoiding them.
  • Creating new social norms about protecting the environment where “Green is the new black”.
  • Breaking collective silence about climate. Engaging everyone in protecting our planet.
  • Inspiring positive visions to identify steps to mitigate climate change highlighting how restoring climate reinforces our core values.
  • Engaging with nature to re-discover the connection with it.

Project partners and their rule (according to their expertise)”

  1. Permacultura Cantabria, Spain (project leader) - Environmental Side, from Climate Change to Climate Emergency.
  2. Desert Bloom, Jordan- Social and Community side, from separation to collaboration
  3. Agrado- Italy- Emotional Side, from Eco-anxiety to Eco-involvement.
  4. Education Innovators Kosovo, Kosovo- Digitalisation side, from social networks to social work-in-net.

About Us

Desert Bloom for Training & Sustainable Development
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Desert Bloom for Training & Sustainable Development

The history of Desert Bloom goes back to around the end of the second millennium, when we established the "Self-Improvement Initiative" to enhance graduates’ employability skills under the University of Jordan Alumni Club. The repercussions of World Trade Centre tragedy in 2001, particularly the growing distrust between the west and the Middle East, incited us to go global establishing "Quested Peace organization" in 2002. Quested Peace contributed to building bridges of understanding and restoring trust between the West and the Middle East. In 2004, Quested Peace joined the United Religions Initiative (URI), the largest grassroots interfaith and peace-building organization worldwide.  In July 2018, Quested Peace changed its name to Desert Bloom.

Creating pathways for positive change

Behind every success there is a great team, together we can make our world a better place for all

Our Recent News

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"Equality in Networking" Training Course

Desert Bloom actively participated in the "Equality in Networking" training course held in Badalona and hosted by Asociación La Rotllana. This course brought together 25 youth workers from 8 European and South Mediterranean countries. The primary focus of the training was to enhance participants' practical skills in building partnerships and designing as well as managing international projects, utilizing non-formal and informal education methods.

Promoting a culture of peer-learning, the training provided a platform for participants to exchange valuable insights and reflect on their experiences. The program incorporated experiential learning elements, including visits to like-minded organizations and the University of Barcelona, enriching the overall training experience.

Below is feedback from Desert Bloom participant:

Attending the training was a truly enriching experience, unveiling the significance of fostering mutually beneficial partnerships and co-creating international projects in multicultural settings.

Recognizing the pivotal role of team-building games cannot be overstated. These activities not only nurture collaboration, communication, and trust among team members but also serve as delightful tools to break the ice and cultivate robust relationships. Whether through a trust fall or a team scavenger hunt, these games contribute to heightened morale and increased productivity.

Exploring other organizations during the visits, particularly the University of Barcelona, was a highlight. The university stands as a prestigious institution renowned for its diverse academic programs, extensive research, and unwavering commitment to innovation. Its notable connection to sports includes engaging sports teams and programs that provide students with opportunities for participation and competition against other institutions. This involvement fosters physical fitness, teamwork, and discipline, ensuring students enjoy a well-rounded experience that balances academics with healthy competition.

The University of Barcelona's dedication to diversity and inclusivity is evident in its robust support for the immigrant community. Striving to create an inclusive environment, the university offers tailored resources and services to assist immigrant students in adapting and thriving academically. This approach underscores the institution's appreciation for the unique contributions of immigrant students to the university community.

The project is financed by the Erasmus+ group for workers and youth workers.

erasmus+ @cjamarante @sppmd @larotllana @ignetwork @associazioneinfirmagiovani @piya @ambitia

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"My Virtual Existence" Youth Exchange

Desert Bloom took part in the "My Virtual Existence" Youth Exchange held in Samobor, Croatia, from January 9th to 18th, 2024. The project aimed to illuminate both the positive and negative aspects of virtual existence, ranging from the impact of social media on self-esteem to the role of online communities in fostering a sense of belonging. It provided an in-depth exploration of how online experiences influence the mood, emotions, and worldview of young people, as well as the ways in which digital interactions shape their daily lives. With participation from six countries – Georgia, Spain, Croatia, Albania, Turkey, and Jordan – the youth exchange offered a comprehensive perspective on how the digital world shapes the emotional landscapes and perspectives of today's youth. It provided a platform for youth to discuss, explore, and critically approach these issues.

Here's a revised version of the details of the experience:

Day 1: We arrived in Croatia, marking the beginning of our journey.

Day 2: We commenced our mutual discovery, getting to know each other as we entered the youth exchange program and fostered relationships through team-building activities. Our journey began with a "Mission Impossible" challenge, fostering connections and camaraderie among us. As we tackled obstacles, we unveiled the diverse perspectives and insights each participant brought to the virtual realm, enriching our understanding of our varied thoughts and experiences.

Day 3: We embarked on a journey of self-reflection, contemplating the role of social media in our daily lives. Our exploration extended to the historical evolution of the internet, social networks, and technological advancements, offering deeper insights into the diverse perspectives within our group.

Day 4: We imagined a world without social networks, pondering its potential implications on our lives. Our exploration also delved into emotional intelligence, discussing its profound influence on success. Through research and discussion, we enhanced our understanding of the pervasive influence of social media content and brainstormed strategies to foster resilience.

Day 5: We delved into the world of gaming, familiarizing ourselves with its specialized language and culture. Our discussions explored controversies surrounding gaming, including issues of violence and gender representation. We brainstormed proactive solutions to mitigate risks associated with gaming.

Day 6: Our focus shifted to the integration of AI within social media platforms and content recommendation systems. We discussed the mechanics of algorithms and engaged in debates about AI's limitations in critical thinking and creativity. Additionally, we celebrated our diverse backgrounds through an intercultural night of dances and culinary delights.

Day 7: We explored remote work and its ongoing impact, especially in light of COVID-19. Our discussions highlighted the importance of digital literacy for remote workers and staged a play illustrating the motivations behind remote employment.

Day 8: We gathered to reflect on our learnings and conclusions from the exchange. With thoughtful deliberation, we summarized our insights before embarking on a final outing, ending our journey with an ice-skating trip filled with laughter and joy.

Testimonies:

Heam Khaddams: "My first Erasmus+ experience was truly remarkable and unforgettable. I cherished every moment, from being part of a dynamic team to meeting people from diverse backgrounds and immersing myself in different cultures. Together, we nurtured creativity, learned from each other, and formed lasting bonds that will stay with me for a lifetime."

Ahmad Ezz-Aldin: "Being part of this project was an extraordinary experience, and I'm grateful for the opportunity. Through this journey, I discovered new ways to unleash my creativity and improve my social skills. This project provided an experience beyond my imagination, leaving lasting memories that I will always cherish."

https://youtu.be/oq6XOgbQjco

 

 

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Youth Exchange “Sports for inclusion”

Youth Exchange “Sports for inclusion”, 16 - 23 Dec. 2023, Badalona (Barcelona)- Spain


The Sports for Inclusion Youth Exchange, organized by La Rotllana in collaboration with local educational institutions, highlighted sports' transformative power in overcoming social barriers and fostering inclusivity. It aimed to create an environment where everyone, regardless of background or abilities, feels valued and embraced. Aligned with broader goals of promoting equality, breaking stereotypes, and building cohesive communities.

The project successfully brought together 24 young individuals, aged 14 to 17, hailing from diverse backgrounds and representing Asociación La Rotllana in Spain, the Council for Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency - SPPMD in Macedonia, and Desert Bloom for Training and Sustainable Development in Jordan. This collaborative effort aimed to create a meaningful and inclusive platform for cross-cultural exchange, fostering mutual understanding and shared experiences among the participating youth.

The project successfully achieved the following objectives:

  1. Enhanced Project Development Skills: improved youngsters' competences, equipping them with the skills to translate ideas into tangible projects, thereby empowering them and increasing engagement in community initiatives.
  2. Cultural Diversity Awareness: enhanced awareness about cultural diversity, fostering an environment of intercultural learning. This promoted respect and tolerance among participants, breaking down stereotypes and building bridges between different backgrounds.
  3. Personal Development and Exploration: youngsters were guided to explore personal attitudes and work options, enabling them to discover strengths and potential contributions to society.

In essence, the Sports for Inclusion Youth Exchange not only met its outlined objectives but also served as an inspiring beacon for the broader community. Through sports, it fostered unity, understanding, and collective responsibility, leaving a lasting impact on participants and the communities involved.

The project was co-funded by the. European Commission under the Erasmus + programme.

Please check this video about the Youth Exchange 

https://youtu.be/5tal7QQB3rs

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Desert Bloom’s young staff and volunteers shared their experience in Spain about sustainable living.

Desert Bloom’s young staff and volunteers shared their experience in Spain about sustainable living.

Ten young people of Desert Bloom shared the experiences gained from their participation in the Youth Exchange that was hosted by Permacultura Cantabria in Cantabria, Spain from 18-25 Oct. 2022. The exchange was under “PEACE: Psychological and Eco-social Aspects of Climate Change” project.

They young people highlighted the risks of climate change on our physical and mental survival on front of 40 people in a URI Faith for Earth workshop held in Dec. 2022. They tackled daily habits that accelerating climate change. The made it clear that our lifestyle choices matter. They impact the world around us, hence, it is everyone responsibility to stop hearting our one and one planet. We all need to make our lives more environmentally friendly by greening our lives toward “Zero Waste” lifestyle”, said Shaden Hayari. She also gave example on how to practice the 5 principles of Zero Waste (Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot) on our daily life. Moreover, Mutaz, Rama and Ahmad shared some ecological farming and sustainability practices, including biobuilding, Rainwater harvesting, storage heating stoves and recycling the waste oil into a fuel. All these practices they had learn during their visit to an ecological farm in Cantabria.

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Arabic version of "From Negativity to Activity" the audiobook of PEACE project

Desert Bloom is pleased to share with you the Arabic version of "From Negativity to Activity" audiobook of PEACE project (PEACE: Psychological and Eco-social Aspects of Climate Change"/ Project Number: (101051323 ERASMUS-YOUTH-2021-CB), co-funded by the European Union.
Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Neither the European Union nor EACEA can be held responsible for them is now available in our YouTube Channel. Below are the links.

 

https://youtu.be/w4eHbtteIVg

https://youtu.be/rXl1JfqZ1GM

https://youtu.be/51ojI0k5M20

https://youtu.be/YOjhyuer9eQ

https://youtu.be/iPdGyG-h86Q

https://youtu.be/5NRSmDmAyiU

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Solidarity Without Borders in Jordan

Solidarity Without Borders in Jordan

Solidarity Without Borders in Jordan is a one-month Volunteering Teams in High Priority Areas project, involving 40 volunteers from Portugal, Germany and Jordan, took place in AsSalt, Jordan. The project was coordinated by 'Associao Medestu' Portugal and implemented by Desert Bloom, Jordan in cooperation with Albalqa Institute for Creativity in Bayoudha Village.

 

The project made significant strides in addressing unmet societal challenges within the realm of "preservation of cultural heritage," leveraging eco-friendly and sustainable methodologies. It not only implemented environmental responsibility but also fostered awareness of cultural heritage preservation among participating volunteers and target groups. The initiative proved transformative for young volunteers, enhancing their personal, social, and professional skills.

A diverse array of discussions, workshops and field visits deepened participants' understanding of crucial topics, spanning sustainability issues, climate change, climate justice, sport and healthy lifestyle, olive harvesting and pressing, organic farming, and permaculture practices. The project facilitated hands-on experience, including the planting of over 1500 native trees for local reforestation, establishing a community garden for local inhabitants, and constructing a wood-fired oven using mud-building techniques common in permaculture.

Moreover, the initiative promoted language exchange through self-organized classes in Arabic, Portuguese, and German. Engaging in regular soccer and judo practices with local children, along with organizing three intercultural nights representing each nation involved, further encouraged transcultural exchange with the local community. The volunteers are poised to positively impact the local community, particularly the target groups comprising children, youngsters, migrants, and refugees.

In addition to their impactful work, volunteers seized the opportunity to explore Jordan. Their itinerary included visits to:

  1. The Royal Hashemite Court
  2. The city of As-Salt, recognized on the UNESCO World Heritage List as "the city of tolerance and civilized hospitality." It boasts around 650 significant historic buildings showcasing a blend of European Art Nouveau, Neo-Colonial styles, and local traditions.
  3. Petra and Wadi Rum, where they immersed themselves in the Bedouins' nomadic and tribal traditions.
  4. Aqaba
  5. Roman Ruins of Jerash

This holistic approach not only contributed to cultural heritage preservation but also provided volunteers with a rich cultural and educational experience, fostering a profound connection between the project and the community it served.

 

https://youtu.be/OsARKIkK3eY

Some reflections from volunteers

Areefa Albqowr- Jordan

I am proud that I have successfully completed the Solidarity Without Borders project in as Salt, and I am thrilled to present my feedback of the profound impact this month has had on me. Spanning a month, the project unfolded with a myriad of activities and positive interactions, creating an environment conducive to cultural exchange and personal growth.

Language acquisition took center stage throughout the program, with engaging lessons in Arabic, Portuguese, and German. What set this experience apart was the direct interaction with native speakers, providing an immersive learning environment. Beyond linguistic skills, we delved into the exploration of diverse cultures and traditions, sharing moments that encompassed a spectrum of emotions—happiness, sadness, joy, longing, tears, gratitude, thanks, reflection, culture, discussions, housing, and everything in between.

Living together 24/7 for an entire month allowed us to form deep connections. Our journey began with icebreaker exercises at our designated chalets, where laughter-filled games and "Protect Your Dream" exercises infused camaraderie into the group. Area tours acquainted us with the places and projects slated for exploration during our stay.

The primary goal of language exchange was admirably achieved. Arabic was taught to the German and Portuguese groups, while we absorbed lessons in their respective languages. English served as our common medium, fostering a collaborative and inclusive learning environment.

Noteworthy activities such as olive picking and tree planting allowed us to connect with the local community, contributing to the town's greenery. Transplanting shrubs, preparing the soil, and planting over 1500 trees left an indelible mark, symbolizing our collective effort to nurture growth and create lasting memories.

Community Garden activities, though in a smaller area, were equally meaningful. Working together, following clear lines, and completing each row solidified our sense of collaboration and shared purpose.

Traditional Cultural Nights played a pivotal role, with teams from different countries showcasing their unique heritage through food, attire, songs, and dances. From Portuguese culinary delights to engaging German games and the richness of Jordanian traditions, each night offered a delightful journey into cultural diversity.

As the project concluded, the impact lingers on. Parting was emotional, but the exchange of physical letters proved to be a thoughtful touch, allowing us to revisit shared memories and the kindness embedded in each word. The yearning for these moments began before they ended, and as each person departed, they took a part of another with them, influencing and connecting us on a profound level. While we may not physically reunite, the heart and memory persist, and we remain connected in thought, grounded beneath the same sky, awaiting the surprises of coincidences that bind us together.


Aisling Groll

 

I am extremely grateful for the experiences I gained during my participation in the project. Particularly the continuous exchange with the other Jordanian and Portuguese participants provided me with valuable insights and perspectives. I also immensely enjoyed the interactions with members of the local community and am grateful for the openness, kindness, and hospitality they welcomed us with. I personally also enjoy being outdoors and working practically which many activities enabled me to do. 

 

While some aspects could be improved it is worth acknowledging that the team of continuously present responsible organizers/ project “leaders” was extremely small considering the high number of participants. It was clear to see that Elham and Rúben did all they could to provide every participant with a valuable experience. Perhaps it could be beneficial for another project of this size to account for more people with a supervising/supporting function.

 

Mirjam Liebl

 

During the project, we had a lot of time to socialize with the other participants. Looking

back, talking with Jordanians about the Jordanian culture and Islam helped me to

understand better why things like marriage work in this society like they do. I appreciated

that we made many trips to different places, so we saw different sides of Jordan like the

beautiful nature and small, medium-sized, and big cities. We ate many traditional dishes and

danced a lot. Something I particularly enjoyed was the three cultural nights. I also liked the

working activities in the garden, planting trees, and playing sports with children. I think we should have planted trees or worked in the community garden more frequently than once a week, especially because we quit the activity because of rain at the end of the project. Elham did very well and always tried to accommodate everyone’s needs but we

should have had different people who focused on different parts of the project in my opinion.

It was hard to coordinate the group as people went to different houses during the day when

there was free time.

 

Frank Pietsch

 

I'm very fortunate to have been able to be involved in the project in As-Salt because it was a unique experience in every way. Working together with Jordanians, Portuguese and Germans in a meaningful and lasting way shaped us all during the project and even beyond. I was very happy to get the chance to plant trees and to meet the local community. I hope that we had a lasting impact on the environment, but we certainly grew as a community. We made some lasting connections and got some insights into a life, that is not that different from our life in Europe, but still, we had to question some common beliefs. I especially value the time we spend talking with each other and getting to know each other better. Through this, we got insight into different ways of thinking and living and we will certainly not be the same anymore. I also think that all of us became friends through working together in an honest and simple way and through our different ways of approaching life in general. Also, the food was nice.

 

 

Florian Kempkens

 

I personally liked the project because the catering was good and there was enough food. In addition to that, there was a wonderful community spirit which was very enjoyable. The intercultural experiences and encounters with the local community gave me a lot and I learned much.

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"A Journey with Nature"

"A Journey with Nature" - A Day Workshop Unveiling the Psychological and Eco-Social aspects of Climate Change and Earth Restoration

In the serene setting of Bayyudah Village near As-Salt, Desert Bloom conducted a transformative workshop unfolded on November 20, 2023. Drawing together a diverse group of 36 participants, including passionate youth workers, NGO leaders, and rural youth, the event sought to delve into the intricate tapestry of climate change and Earth's restoration.

At the outset, we embraced a collaborative approach by dividing our attendees into four smaller groups. Each group delved into distinct yet interconnected topics, unraveling the complexities of climate change. Armed with newfound expertise, participants prepared engaging presentations to share their insights with the larger group, fostering a dynamic exchange of knowledge.

The workshop thoughtfully navigated through key themes, including:

  1. From Climate Change to Climate Emergency: Addressing the Climate Crisis, Climate Justice, Tipping Points, the Greenhouse Effect, and the intersection of Food and Climate Crisis.
  2. Biodiversity's Crucial Role: Illuminating how biodiversity underpins the processes supporting all life on Earth, including the intricate connections with human existence.
  3. Social Aspects of Climate Change: Encompassing discussions on Environmental Justice, Climate Change Migration and Refugees, the significance of interculturality and transnationality in climate change work, social justice within the climate change context, and the resilience and cohesion fostered through Community Building.
  4. Empowering Action: Exploring avenues for tangible change, the workshop encouraged participants to discover their personal plant. Despite the prevalence of concrete surroundings, the workshop reminded us of the often-overlooked beauty in the ecosystem around us. Using plant identification apps, participants engaged in hands-on exploration, identifying various plants and trees. Each participant not only introduced their chosen plant to the group but also depicted it through art, fostering a creative exchange of unique drawings and the sharing of intriguing facts about different plant species.

The workshop transcended traditional boundaries, fostering a holistic understanding of climate change and inspiring actionable steps towards a sustainable future. Through collaboration, exploration, and creativity, participants emerged not only as informed advocates for the environment but as stewards committed to nurturing the delicate balance between humanity and the planet.

The workshop serves as a pivotal Multiplier Event, providing a platform to disseminate the wealth of knowledge accrued during the PEACE Project (101051323-PEACE-ERASMUS-YOUTH-2021-CB). This gathering stands as a culmination of our collective learning journey, offering an opportunity to share insights, experiences, and discoveries that have unfolded throughout the course of the project.

Please check the workshop video: https://youtu.be/lUnxSMiQIWY

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EntrepreneurSelf

EntrepreneurSelf Training Course, 23 to 30 Oct. 2023, Málaga, Spain

The "EntrepreneurSelf" training course brought together youth workers from eight countries with a primary goal: fostering collaboration to advocate for the importance of youth entrepreneurship in bringing their business concepts to life.

This initiative provides a unique opportunity for dedicated youth workers and leaders who share a common interest in empowering young individuals to partake in entrepreneurial endeavors, both nationally and internationally. Additionally, it aims to pave the way for the development of international projects that bridge diverse realities and share a wealth of experiences. Gratitude to EuroMuevete for excellent organization.

Sara Abdulraheem and Jude Darwazeh shared their transformative experiences during an Erasmus project in Malaga. The journey unfolded over six days, marked by enthusiastic collaboration and personal growth. They wrote:

Day 1: Embarking on the Entrepreneurial Journey: Our adventure kicked off with enthusiasm and collaboration. Team-building activities set the stage for a harmonious and supportive atmosphere. We openly shared our expectations, fears, and contributions, fostering a sense of unity. The introduction to entrepreneurship sparked curiosity and set the tone for the days ahead.

Day 2: Navigating the Entrepreneurial Landscape: A dynamic day filled with a simulation game allowed us to explore entrepreneurship hands-on. National realities on young entrepreneurship were presented, providing valuable insights. The role-play on conflicts in professional communication challenged us to refine our interpersonal skills. A stroll through the town added a cultural touch, bonding us further as a team.

Day 3: Tackling Youth Unemployment and Exploring Success Stories: We delved into the pressing issues of youth unemployment and the role of entrepreneurial education. Exploring Entrecomp equipped us with a deeper understanding of entrepreneurial competencies. The night ended with the intercultural night which was marvelous.

Day 4: Immersing Ourselves in Malaga: A study visit allowed us to delve into the heart of Malaga, gaining a deeper appreciation for the local culture and history. Exploring the city added a touch of adventure and provided a well-deserved break from our intensive training program.

Day 5: Green Entrepreneurship and Design Thinking: Immersed in a simulation exercise on green entrepreneurship, we explored sustainable business ideas. The application of the Design Thinking methodology became a powerful tool as we transformed our ideas into tangible projects. The day concluded with a lively Halloween party, blending learning with celebration.

Day 6: Crafting Business Plans and Reflecting on the Journey: On the final day, each group poured their creativity into developing business plans. Brainstorming and discussions led to beautiful ideas taking shape. The process of presenting our ideas became a transformative experience, deepening our understanding of entrepreneurship and empowering us to build and develop our own ventures. The day concluded with heartfelt reflections, summarizing the collective journey of growth, collaboration, and newfound entrepreneurial knowledge.

Sara Abdulraheem's Testimony: The experience was a dynamic blend of education, culture, and hands-on learning. Each day significantly contributed to our personal and collective growth, leaving an enduring impact on our understanding of entrepreneurship.

Jude Darwazeh's Testimony: In my second Erasmus+ experience with Desert Bloom, the project created a vibrant tapestry of experiences, seamlessly integrating education, culture, and hands-on learning. Each day played a crucial role in shaping both our individual and collective growth, leaving a lasting imprint on our comprehension of entrepreneurship. I express sincere gratitude to Desert Bloom for this invaluable experience that has broadened my perspective and enriched my skills.

 

Please check this video about the project

https://youtu.be/dCqIM3zwSrE

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First URI MENA "Youth Camp on Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding

First URI MENA "Youth Camp on Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding, Jordan, October 6-8, 2023
From October 6th to October 8th, a dynamic three-day youth camp was held in Jordan, addressing the vital theme of "Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding." This enlightening event was jointly organized by URI MENA and Desert Bloom. It brought together enthusiastic young individuals from diverse countries in the MENA region, who convened in Amman to engage in meaningful dialogues and discussions centered around the crucial topics of peace and conflict resolution.
The camp's agenda spanned a wide spectrum of subjects, encompassing aspects of identity, diversity, peacebuilding, and much more. To make the learning experience interactive and engaging, the camp utilized games and group exercises that allowed participants to internalize their newfound knowledge.
To foster an environment of trust and open communication, participants initially participated in various team-building exercises and ice-breaking games. The camp then employed the "world café" method to establish a common understanding of key concepts relevant to conflict prevention and peacebuilding. Participants, in rotating small groups, brainstormed and deliberated on the meanings of essential terms, such as White Supremacy, Populism, Xenophobia, Violent Radicalization, Socioeconomic Inclusion, Conflict Transformation, Peacebuilding, Community Resilience, Reconciliation, Moral Imagination, and Restorative Justice.
Afterward the camp delved into more complex concepts. Substantial time was devoted to exploring the core values of human rights, particularly human dignity and equality. This understanding was extended to other fundamental values, including freedom, non-discrimination, tolerance, and respect for others. The aim was to protect and ensure human dignity, justice, and a shared responsibility for the rights of all individuals, which necessitates taking responsibility for one's actions and working toward the realization of human rights for all.
One workshop segment critically examined the concept of identity, employing the iceberg model to encourage participants to recognize the multi-layered nature of identities, both visible and invisible. This heightened awareness highlighted the importance of personal and cultural sensitivity when navigating potential conflicts with others. Another workshop component focused on effective inclusion strategies, using the "privilege walk" exercise to raise awareness about personal privileges and existing social inequalities.
To further explore practical approaches to conflict transformation and peacebuilding, the camp introduced a real-world case study: the Rwandan Genocide. Participants were tasked with analyzing and discussing this case to propose strategies for sustaining peace in Rwanda, which could potentially be applied in other conflict scenarios.

Check this video about the camp:

https://youtu.be/mr0QNq2Ou7g

 

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Better understanding leads to successful ending

Better understanding leads to successful ending

Training course, from 19 to 25 Sept. 2023 in Budy Glogowskie, Poland

The training, hosted by the Fundacja im. Braci Soluńskich-Cyryla i Metodego and co-funded by the European Union under the Erasmus Plus program, brought together 28 participants from a diverse range of countries, including Bulgaria, Georgia, Jordan, North Macedonia, Poland, Spain, and Turkey.

The primary aim of this training program is to elevate the knowledge and practical experience of young individuals in the field of sustainable development, with a particular focus on ecological urban community development and environmental protection. It aims to foster the practical skills of future experts in ecology and leisure related to urban climate adaptation, waste management, green space preservation, and sustainable urban community development.

Additionally, the program seeks to address multiple other goals:

  1. Mitigating the adverse effects of isolation and quarantine, while also promoting the physical well-being of project participants and reducing Internet addiction.
  2. Facilitating an intercultural exchange of experiences to foster multi-dimensional social development and promote democratic values, as well as to stimulate the initiation and support of innovative solutions across various aspects of social life.
  3. Promoting student mobility and cultural connections, fostering new friendships and international networks.
  4. Engaging local community representatives in addressing youth issues and promoting a healthy lifestyle among young people.
  5. Providing support for individuals with disabilities, enhancing their social inclusion and participation.

In summary, the central aim of this exchange program is to empower young people with knowledge and practical skills in sustainable development, while simultaneously addressing a range of related social, health, and cultural objectives.

Check this out!

https://youtu.be/CibkZkpiD2s

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Meet the Nature Where It Belongs

"Meet the Nature Where It Belongs: A European Solidarity Corps (ESC) Volunteer Project in Vila Pouca de Aguiar, Portugal, August 1-30, 2023

This short-term Volunteering Team in high priority areas project achieved its objectives of promoting solidarity and lasting cooperation, through volunteering, between youngsters and the local community. Also, it included many activities that promote environmental protection including green practices, sustainable living and climate action. The project, which was hosted by MEDesTU, gathered 15 young volunteers from Desert Bloom and their leader along with some volunteers from Portugal, Egypt and Lebanon.

The young participants learnt about ecological principles and practiced permaculture bio-building principles. Also, they had the chance to improve their multimedia and planned skills. They organize a conference about ESC and Erasmus+ Programme and conducted interactive sessions on eco-friendly lifestyle.

https://youtu.be/WggVbfEwRZs   Check this short video about the project made by the volunteers.

https://youtu.be/WggVbfEwRZs

Below some feedback from volunteers:

Faten Ashour

I'm thrilled to join the "Meet Nature Where It Belongs" project in Vila Puoca di Aguiar, Portugal. First and foremost, I'd like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the Desert Bloom for granting me this life-changing opportunity. We embrace nature in its natural Habitat.  Throughout this project, we wholeheartedly immersed ourselves in the unspoiled beauty of nature. We engaged in various activities, including setting up tents, tending to farms, mastering the art of making fires, cooking outdoors, and adopting eco-friendly practices like using natural detergents and constructing dry toilets. Despite a few challenges encountered with our host organization, we managed to successfully complete our project, thanks to the invaluable support of the Portuguese Civil Defense and the Municipality of Vila Puoca di Aguiar.

During the project, we visited the Tamera Peace Research & Education Center in Portugal, a community that works toward autonomous decentralized models for a post-capitalist world, with those who share their vision of Terra Nova, the vision of a planetary culture of autonomous and interconnected communities: a post-patriarchal civilization free of violence and war. We learnt how to become "a self-sufficient, sustainable and duplicable communitarian model for nonviolent cooperation and cohabitation between humans, animals, nature, and Creation for a future of peace for all. There is no financial exchange within the village, but rather there is an exchange of social services.

We explored Portuguese culture, traditions, and attended local festivals. I also visited the historic University of Coimbra and Alvao Natural Park to learn about local flora and fauna.

At the project's end, we organized a conference and a Jordanian food bazaar for the local community. This experience outside Jordan has enriched me personally and allowed me to make new connections. I'm thankful to Desert Bloom and everyone who contributed positively to our project's success.

 

Motasem Al-Najdawi

Hello! I'm Motasem, and I'm 25 years old. I have a background in physical education. My journey into volunteering began in 2016 in Jordan, where I collaborated with various organizations. Over time, I had the privilege to work with children, youth, and rural communities. Now, I'm excited to share my first international volunteering experience, which has brought me to Vila Puoca di Aguiar, Portugal, as part of the European Solidarity Corps project "Meet Nature Where It Belongs" with Desert Bloom for a one-month commitment.

While there have been challenges along the way, the positive aspects have consistently overshadowed the negatives. It's essential always to focus on the bright side of volunteering.

This experience beyond Jordan's borders has been incredibly valuable to me. Not only have I had the opportunity to immerse myself in new languages and cultures, but I've also come to realize that prior experience in a specific field is not always necessary. In a nutshell, humans learn best through experience, and we have the power to shape our own growth.

The European Solidarity Corps plays a pivotal role in fostering genuine intercultural dialogue. As a Jordanian, I've brought with me a rich tapestry of traditions, cuisine, and language that might be unfamiliar to many Europeans. Through open and respectful conversations, I've had the privilege to share the beauty of Jordanian culture, from our warm hospitality to the diverse flavors that adorn our tables. In return, I've been fortunate to immerse myself in the diverse European cultures.

In closing, I'd like to express my heartfelt gratitude to everyone who has supported me on this incredible journey. A special thank you goes out to Desert Bloom, the organization I'm currently affiliated with, for making this experience possible. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

 

Osama Alasmar

I will talk about what I benefited from during my volunteer period in Portugal, which was in August

Firstly I would like to thank Desert Bloom and European Solidarity Corps for offering this chance. 

I would like to speak on the intellectual level, my thinking about life has evolved, iIt opens my mind to things in nature that I was not aware of. I have improved my personality, become bolder in speaking, and become more effective in speaking. I have learned a lot in facing difficulties. I have learned to adapt to all circumstances and ensure that all circumstances are fleeting. I discovered a new culture

We have created many events including inviting municipal members and gave a presentation about Jordan Egypt and Lebanon with other volunteers from Egypt and Lebanon as well and we presented some Jordanian food and dessert. We visited the village of Tamira, which aims become a self-sufficient community model

We coexisted in nature, learned how to make a fire the right way, built a dry toilet, and learned how to set up tents and plow the land as well. We faced many difficulties on the receiving end, but we were able to overcome them with positive, energetic team spirit. Thank you for the experiences I have gained

Imad Amer, Lebanon

This project was a voluntary initiative as part of the European Solidarity Corps, targeting two main areas: "Bioconstruction" and "Permaculture," focusing on environmentally friendly architecture and sustainable agriculture. We faced significant challenges during the project, with logistics and project management being among the most challenging aspects, largely due to inadequate management by the Portuguese hosting organization.

On a positive note, the local Portuguese authorities cooperated effectively with us, including the Vila Pouca de Aguiar Municipality, the Portuguese Civil Defense (Bombeiros Vila Pouca de Aguiar), and Portuguese volunteers like Patrícia Portelinha and Patricia Vasconcelos. They greatly enriched our experience and provided insights into Portuguese rural culture, traditions, and the spirit of collaboration and solidarity among the people.

Throughout the project, we met with representatives from the Vila Pouca de Aguiar Municipality and learned about their various activities, such as civil organization, engineering, healthcare, public facilities management, planning, resource management, and efforts to encourage cooperative initiatives and attract investments to the region. They also shared their experiences in creating public amenities like swimming pools, football fields, and organizing festivals in the villages within the municipality. We noticed similarities between their challenges and those in our region in Lebanon, as both strive for community development.

We also visited Tamera, an environmental village, which is one of the largest eco-villages in the world, hosting people of various nationalities, ages, and professions. Tamera aims to redefine the concept of community based on different principles, emphasizing social exchange instead of financial transactions and adopting a vegetarian and organic diet and other sustainable practices.

Furthermore, we visited the Civil Defense center in Vila Pouca de Aguiar, which covers a vast area, directly supervised by the municipality and central firefighting authority. We got acquainted with their equipment, operations, and the services they provide to the community.

We also met with experts in environmental architecture and discussed concepts, local building materials, sustainability, and practices for reducing environmental impact and adopting eco-friendly and sustainable lifestyles.

Overall, these experiences were incredibly enriching and provided valuable insights into the communities and environmental and social projects in Portugal and Lebanon. They will help us develop and improve our projects in the future.

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"A Journey to Media and Cultural Learning" in Germany

"A Journey to Media and Cultural Learning" in Germany - September 2023

In the continued pursuit of the "A Journey to Media and Cultural Literacy" project, following the successful inaugural visit by Tomorrow Together - Germany to Jordan, Desert Bloom for Training & Sustainable Development embarked on a mission to Germany to advance the project's objectives. The project was generously funded by ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen) under the CCP Synergy program, which promotes cooperative partnerships among civil society organizations. It aimed to explore the influence of media communication on culture while championing Sustainable Development Goal no. 17, fostering global partnerships.

During the trip, we engaged in meaningful interactions with like-minded organizations and cultural institutions in Bonn, Frankfurt, Cologne, and Berlin. Our itinerary included:

  • Our History. Germany since 1945 - A permanent exhibition in Bonn.
  • Seraji Foundation Bonn: We explored potential collaborations in hosting volunteers, Arabic language courses, Erasmus Plus programs, group ESC projects, cultural programs, and more.
  • Haus der Integration, Bonn. We gained insights into their community action initiatives and best practices in integration. We also learned about their Paper Magazine "Die Grenze" and the foundation's online news portal "our-voice-online."
  • Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg (University of Applied Sciences) - Discussions centered around potential cooperation in Capacity-building projects are international cooperation projects under Erasmus Plus and cooperation in the field of student exchanges.
  • Museum Koenig (Natural History Museum)
  • The Cologne Central Mosque
  • Cologne Cathedral
  • United Religions Initiative (URI) Office in Bonn
  • Deutsche Muslim-Liga Bonn e.V.
  • Refugee families in Berlin - We had the honor of meeting two refugee families in Berlin, gaining insights into their refugee journeys and how they successfully integrated into German society.

In summary, Desert Bloom's visit to Germany accomplished the following objectives:

- Forging robust partnerships

- Sharing innovative ideas

- Enhancing our understanding of cultural variances in media consumption and addressing core challenges.

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