“I want to be a
professional photographer and I will get there,” says 18-year-old Fadi of his
dream. This passion grew after Fadi had
taken several training courses offered by the Preparedness for Employability
project launched by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Save the
Fadi lives in a Palestinian refugee camp in Jerash, just north of the
Jordanian capital Amman. A few years
ago, like many of his friends, he dropped out of middle school. He felt that school did not offer him the
skills needed for the working world. After all, his father was no longer with
them, and he was under pressure to find a job to support his sister
By the time he was 16, however, Fadi realised that quitting school was a
mistake, and the future that he thought would be so bright was growing quite
bleak. Then, through word of mouth, he
heard about the Mustaqbali programme - a programme initiated in 2009 by UNICEF,
the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near
East (UNRWA) and the Save the Children Federation. The Preparedness for Employability project
called Mustaqbali (Arabic for 'my future') aims to help young people improve the crucial
skills and knowledge needed for employment opportunities and prepares them for
the demands of the labour market. So,
Fadi joined over 300 adolescents (half of them girls) who decided to take
advantage of the opportunity that this programme provided.
The Mustaqbali programme has been implemented in some of the most
marginalised areas in Jordan. Given that
the youth unemployment rate in Jordan
stood at 28 per cent in 2010, the programme especially targets 15 to19 year-olds to empower adolescents to make conscious career choices and be
able to negotiate them in their families.
Fadi participated in many courses including career counselling sessions,
financial and market literacy sessions and even practical on-the-job training
at the UNRWA-affiliated Women Programme Centre.
He was especially interested in film training, particularly because he
was attracted to the idea that he could send out a message through this
medium. “The sessions helped me give my
life direction again,” he explains. “My
self-confidence grew and I now know I can succeed in whatever I set my mind to achieve.”
Fadi’s first film project was about school dropouts, which only shows
how much his previous decision affected him.
“I worked on it to convey a message, not to win a prize,” says Fadi, who
submitted his work to an UNRWA supported competition for young Palestinian
There are many other issues in
the camp that he believes need to be tackled.
Through his filming projects he aims to expose some of these issues and mobilise
action to improve the overall situation in the camp. So far, he has reported on child labour, the
poor sanitary conditions of the camp and the lack of a proper football field for the camp’s children.
Even though he sometimes feels frustrated by the slow response to the
issues he is tackling, he still follows his passion and is continuously
encouraged and supported by his friends.
Unfortunately now though, Fadi cannot make a living
out of film and photography. He has to
take up any job that comes along. He has
worked in construction, as a car mechanic and, lately, has a job as a
painter. He also cooperates with a local
WebTV station on an occasional basis, so he is able to make some extra money
with his film projects because Fadi will not give up his dream. He will continue to film the life he sees
around him. “I will be famous one day,”
he adds with a confident smile.