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“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 Children.


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

and mother.   

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.”

Reflecting reality

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 refugees.

 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.

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