Twelve HCT – Fujairah Women’s College students from the first year of the Diploma of Applied Business and Technology Program recently travelled to Jordan, where they took part in a project to help provide adequate housing for low-income families in rural areas of the country.
The trip was made possible by Habitat for Humanity, a not-for-profit organization whose objective is to provide affordable and decent housing for economically disadvantaged peoples internationally. Habitat for Humanity helps to build or renovate homes for people in poor communities in the developing world.
The twelve students from Fujairah Women’s College stayed in Jordan from March 24-April 1. During this time, they took part in the construction of a new home for a large family in Al Taybeh, a small town in rural Jordan.
Over the course of the trip, the twelve young women had the opportunity to lend a hand and be of service to some of the people in this economically disadvantaged community. They assisted with sifting sand, mixing cement, hauling blocks, bricklaying, painting and plastering. They also had the opportunity to learn more about the world and how they could help to make it a better place.
Before making the trip, many of the participants had thought that building a home was something they would never be able to do. They reported that they felt a sense of shared achievement and empowerment following the project – they had been able to accomplish something that challenged them and had also made a difference in the lives of a disadvantaged Jordanian family.
Students said that they would be able to bring the knowledge they had acquired in Jordan back to Fujairah and use it to help make the community stronger. In addition to gaining technical expertise, the young women learned a variety of life skills and developed a new outlook on life. After returning from Jordan, they spoke of the importance of independence, teamwork and interdependence, patience, altruism, self-reliance and sharing.
The Habitat for Humanity trip was particularly effective in fostering a spirit of social awareness and responsibility on the part of the participants. This is particularly important for these young women because it resonates strongly with the UAE government’s “UAE Vision 2021,” which recommends participation in “grass roots initiatives” and “charitable work and volunteering” for UAE nationals.
There is no doubt that the trip had a profound effect on all of those involved. Meg Carter, the organizer of the trip and a business faculty member at Fujairah Women’s College, said that the volunteers had left Fujairah as citizens of the UAE, and had returned to Fujairah as citizens of the world.