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Photos of Barbeita children trigger initiative for underprivileged

Initiative provides 14 remote areas around Kingdom with financial, medical and in-kind support

By Sawsan Tabazah - Jan 03,2018 - Last updated at Jan 06,2018

'Masar Al Khair' or the ‘Benevolence Track' initiative provided 14 remote areas around the Kingdom with financial, medical and in-kind support and implemented small projects aiming to fight poverty and unemployment (Photo by Mohammed Garalleh)

AMMAN — The photos of Tafileh Governorate’s Barbeita area showing school children’s worn-out shoes during the 2016 winter season have turned into an initiative that has provided 14 remote areas around the Kingdom with financial, medical and in-kind support and implemented small projects aiming to fight poverty and unemployment. 

 “A picture tells better than a thousand words… it reflects reality, reveals the suffering and stories of people,” Mohammed Garalleh, photojournalist at Al Rai daily and the founder of “Masar Al Khair” or “the Benevolence Track” initiative, told The Jordan Times on Tuesday. 

Garalleh said that the photos of Tafileh’s children evoked a “positive shock” in the Jordanian society after they went viral on social media, leading a group of his friends and volunteers to start an initiative with him to help people in need.  

“The donations amounted to almost JD80,000 and in-kind support in a year that included distribution of food packages, clothes, shoes, blankets, heaters and hygiene products. ”

Garalleh said that he donated the prize money which he won in the King Hussein Prize for Press Creativity for his photos of Barbeita to build a saloon in the area and trained volunteers on hair cutting techniques. 

The initiative helped some of the remote areas’ residents make a living, while it also provided many others with “vital” services like bakeries, Garalleh added. 

In Karak, the initiative helped a widow to generate income for her family in Ay area, which lacks bakeries, according to Samira Khawaldeh, the initiative’s coordinator in the southern governorate Samira Khawaldeh. 

“The closest bakery is in Mutah area, half an hour far from our village [Ay]. The woman who manages the project is a widow, who raises her unemployed son, his wife and his two kids,” Khawaldeh added. 

Three projects are scheduled to open in Karak’s Ghour Mazraa region and in Amman’s Um Jumal district, according to Garalleh.

Malek Ajalein, a coordinator of the initiative in Ghour Mazraa and a beneficiary, said that the initiative carried out a couple of cleaning campaigns in the area which, he said, suffers “weak” sanitary infrastructure. The initiative also revamped two houses and is planning to open a new bakery, he said. 

Jadhal Hindawi, the initiative’s coordinator in Amman’s Um Al Jimal district, said that a bakery and a sewing workshop will be opened under the initiative. 

The sewing workshop will train unemployed women who can work either from home or from the caravan-based project which are provided with sewing machines by Salam Cultural Museum, Hindawi added. 

Medical aid is also among the services provided by the initiative in remote areas, as Heba Hospital has provided the initiative with two mobile clinics that can provide healthcare “wherever and whenever needed”, Garalleh noted. 




Garalleh noted that supplying Maan’s Thaghra area with water is the initiative’s “hardest” challenge in light of the financial and physical burdens arose from buying water tanks and distributing them to houses. The individual’s daily share of water in Thaghra stands at two liters, Garalleh added. 

He said that continued efforts to contact the Ministry of Water to address the lack of water supply in the area failed. “My dream is to supply all the areas’ houses with water.” 

Dheib movie fame and a coordinator of the initiative in Maan, Hassan Huweitat, said that southern governorates are marginalised and lack important services like water supply. 


“People are poor and their salaries are very low… they cannot afford essential needs,” Huweitat noted. 

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