Written by Micheala Sharp, (Macalester College) Student Correspondent CET Jordan: Middle East Studies & Internship, Fall 2018
No boys allowed! No, seriously my internship at the NGO Reclaim Childhood is no boys allowed. Why? Well, I would be happy to tell you. Luckily girls, boys, and everyone in between are welcome to learn more about this non-profit—just keep reading.
Reclaim Childhood is an organization that offers year-round sports education to refugee and Jordanian girls ages 8-16, as well as offering coach training for women in the community. They hold practices in two locations, Amman and Zarqa, and we play a variety of sports like football, basketball, frisbee, and even skateboarding! My favorite part about Reclaim is the intentionality of everything starting from training the coaches to how practice runs.
First, the coaches are trained in sports education and professional development. Then they choose girls from their community which creates bonds and trust between them. These coaches come from a diverse background which results in diversity from the girls that they recommend. Currently, there are Somali, Sudanese, Jordanian, Palestinian, Iraqi, Egyptian, and Syrian girls in programming. Then, RC offers transportation to and from practice to make sure that girls are safe and have limited barriers. Finally, the staff are all women to make the girls feel safe and away from the male gaze. Even though RC is a small organization they have practice for over 500 girls and will be doubling enrollment in the Spring. Now, where do I fit in?
I’m a communications intern! Surprise! I work on a team with another CET student to produce and manage social media content for Reclaim Childhood. Plus, I’m in the process of creating an independent and promotional video. I attend weekly meetings to coordinate with my boss Jessie Wyatt and another team of interns which analyze data from practices. I attend practices and meetings twice a week and they are a highlight of my time here in Amman. Jubeiha can feel small and being surrounded by expats and Jordanians all in the same age range can get tiring. But, when I go to my team meetings we work on leadership building, personal, and professional development. They give me time to reflect, build relationships with Jessie and my teammates, and learn about myself. And, during practices, I get to be a kid again for an hour and a half surrounded by strong girls. Plus, I learn a good amount of Arabic and get to practice with the girls around me!
RC is a time where I can grow as a woman and remember what it was like to be a girl.