Many hold the wrong opinion that winter time in Middle Eastern areas must be fairly warm and comfortable. The reality is that temperatures in Jordan often range between 4 and 8 degrees Celsius in the winter months – sometimes with more comfortable temperatures a few hours around noon in sunny weather; but sometimes also with occasional frost and snow.
In the winter, locals therefore tend not to want to take their kids outside due to rain and cold weather. This is especially true for families with children with disabilities, as some of the children have conditions which make them less immune to illnesses.
In the community based rehabilitation (CBR) team we therefore decided to stop the activities in the center during the cold months of January and February, and instead we spent the time visiting the different families in their homes.
The visits had several purposes: We wanted to build up the relationships between the families and the work going on at the center in order to increase the understanding of what we’re hoping to see happen through our work. The visits would also give us a chance to show the family members what activities and exercises we normally do in the center, and therefore also encourage them to continue doing the exercises at home. This is something which greatly contributes to their child's continuous development. Lastly, but not least, the visits would give us a chance to hear more from the families themselves, how they think things are going with the child, what hopes and dreams they have for the future, and how they can see the work for inclusion develop even more etc.
A new experience
Visiting the families was a new experience for our local volunteers. In their culture women especially, wouldn’t normally visit homes that are not a home of a relative. However, they finally all got permission from their fathers or husbands to make these visits “for the sake of the good work”, and it has been a very enriching experience for all of us. We were always well received and experienced the warm welcome and the hospitality that characterizes the Bedouin community.
“I wasn’t sure how these visits would turn out as this type of work was new to me,” one of the volunteers explained. “Looking back, I feel so thankful, I have a lot more of an understanding now for the situations the mothers with children with disabilities are finding themselves in.”
“Is it the same girl?”
In one home we visited, the mother told us with delight about the positive changes she’s seen in her daughter's life since she got involved in the program.
“We recently visited relatives who we haven’t seen for two years,” she said. “They asked me if this is really the same girl they saw 2 years ago! It really encouraged me and I felt so proud!”
The role of the families
“To see long-lasting change in the community, it’s important that we all work together, and the role of the families is very important in order to see inclusion happen. We who are working in this project, were seeking to be an encouragement to the families through our visits. I think that in many ways we succeeded, but also, we ourselves feel very encouraged by them and are thankful for the increased insight the visits have given us into the situations of these families. It really gave us an opportunity to share in their joys and challenges,” says the manager of the CBR Project.
The team is now looking forward to starting a new semester and having the center, yet again, filled with the laughter of the children who are enjoying coming together and being given the chance to grow their abilities!