Workshop Summary - Jordan

In September We had a series of workshops in Tunis, Lebanon, Morocco, Jordan, and Egypt, here is a summary based on notes from @nadia and @HadeerGhareeb on the workshop in Amman.

Were you at the workshop? To join the community, go to the OpenVillage Group on the platform, read what others have written and leave thoughtful comments. When you feel ready, tell your own story to introduce yourself to the community! Use these notes from our discussion at the workshop to help you get started with your own story…


Topics discussed

  • living environment - how it affects your life, how you live. Working environment. How to raise your family and kids. How this affects the new generation. When you live abroad for many years you come back to your country you feel a gap between you and friends. It’s very hard to change the red boundaries, the settings of your mind the values are the same. Every case is a unique case. An individual cannot create a society, it’s the society that creates an individual. Eg Yemen, complain about one leader and then you get another one who is also rubbish. Because they are coming from the same environment.
  1. It important for the individual to develop himself to succeed in life. Maybe he can think of new ventures.

  2. Self respect and self improvement are tied. If you don’t respect yourself you will not improve yourself.

Sophie :
struggled in childhood due to lack of self-esteem. You are more comfortable with what you are now and this state of self respect was due to self improvement.

Self improvement thought she could do it on her own which is not real. Thus for her the idea of OpenVillage is interesting

As an introvert didn’t have much self esteem, but after getting outside her comfort zone, decided to change things in her life. This helped her in improving and getting stronger, also swimming helped ?

  • Access to information and contacts. We are in a world that is changing very fast, information sources are huge. The genuine information is hard to get, usually you need to check the resources but then validate it by asking people and building contacts in different countries. Information is our target to freedom. Because unless we know what is going on we can hardly know where is our freedom. freedom is the way to value things, if you do not have freedom you cannot see value in things. We have to pass to our next generation, our children, so that they can understand and live with it in their time. Also to teach them how to pursue information and tell us how to live the last 3rd of our lives. We have to have healthy contacts on a social level or we will be robots. For professional purposes we have to have wide and diverse kinds of contacts so we can explore opportunities, build ways of communication for creative issues and for how to move forward in life. If we do not consider information and contacts on the global spectrum I think we will be contained wherever we live and this will affect our freedom
  1. Mobility. the idea of freedom of traveling and changing places. So if I am in middle east I can work elsewhere. Meet people and be inspired by them as well as share what you know. Peace of mind- how we can have inner peace in an environment where the future is not known to us, in terms of family in terms of work even stability in the region. All kinds of peace, can we find inner peace or not?


Mobility: idea of loving to travel and out of comfort zone in many meeting new people and seeing new places, chose jobs with travel opportunities. Been to more Than 30 countries. Learn and inspire people and vice versa. Amazing experience for him.

Question: instability?

Agrees that things come with a price, no feeling of a place as home, have friends and family in Jordan, Egypt, Europe. Willing to pay the price. Happy about the term wanderlust, likes travelling and is in his dream job.

Question: would leave this without a job?

Seems like a huge risk so maybe not, but if left with no choice, will do this because staying in one place is unacceptable. Go regionally and to other countries if there is a project or training someplace he will go. Was in Denmark and Bangladesh for 1 month, tunisia for 1 week. Ideal length depends on people in the country eg friends, can stay for longer

Amro kamel:

Peace of mind: facing stress in work, on streets, in family. Does not have but wants to have.
Wants to separate stress at work then go home and not worry about the future. Don’t know how to achieve this. Not honest about it previously, only superficially practice eg read about yoga but not active.

Thinks that when thinking about future can’t achieve peace of mind. Engineer, thinks related to logic, thinks worrying about future incongruous with having peace of mind. Eg que sera sera, what happens will happen

Currently not convinced about having peace of mind?

Thinks about job security, ngos depend on funds and if no funds, will not get job. How to have peace of mind if worried about job? Maybe faith not that strong, when think about job and family and not knowing what happens next, Egyptian and not expecting bright future,everything is a potential threat so how to have peace of mind. Needs to sit and reflect on these questions.

Mobility and peace of mind may be in conflict. Mental and emotional balance may help with inner peace

  • I also chose peace of mind and transparency of communication. Peace of mind was shared by Amr. So transparency of communication. With transparency I was concerned or mad that a lot of things happen in this world and later we discover that we didn’t know anything about it, all of these big games - that we will be cheated and laughed at in history. I feel so small and why not involved in this thing. I feel frustrated that there is a lot of things happening and I cannot think about it. The most important part is transparency of communication with people around us with friends and family. In egypt is judgemental community so people are afraid to be transparent in case it affects their relationships with others - people fear being judged,. I often feel not supported when I share my fears and insecurities. It affects me and I think it affects society. ( Hadeer )

Hadeer :

Peace of mind is very important for me, at certain moment I had this peace of mind , when I return from Colombia to Egypt, I started to worry about the future, I started to ask about what I am working on and what I am doing , I am working at ICRC I feel judged where I work, and don’t have that freedom of making decisions because of work structure.

My contract will end soon and I m concerned about my next step, so thinking about the future I love that peace of mind.

  • Self improvement and self respect, Mental and emotional balance. Shared from my own journey, for me the road was different - self improvement was the way to get to self respect. My own approach to inner peace - accepting that there are things I cannot affect, so if I don’t try to control everything then I can adapt.

Assem ELkahteeb :

Based on this talk, in order to develope yourself you need to have more self confidence. Your ability to work and produce comes from your self confidence.
Then one can make a plan and start working on it from start to beginning. Having a personal inner wellbeing makes you more confident.

Sophie :

In Singapore, as a physician, dealing with patient’s death was not easy, she couldn’t stand it or have control, she needed time to understand it, to know how to have more balance.

This brought a lot of self reflection; why to do that, still striving and working on small related things.

  • Reflection. Education and healthcare and goals of sustainable development. Even if you have in good health community it doesn’t mean that we will reach a better place, that we will be more productive or innovative or happy. Even if a society has a resources, the individual can be his or her own worst enemy. We always think the human is the centre of the story. Maybe this is the wrong way to see things or judge things.


  • Goals. If you have a goal, you can have passion and a plan. After that you will learn from your failures.
  1. Funding. Because I know what i want to achieve, it’s just lack of funding and source of funding. In our case because we moved from Yemen and have to start from scratch, this is the main thing. We have already done so many things and know our goals. This war has destroyed our businesses and our lives.

Feedback: in the place I work with Yemeni people in solar. If you want money for doing things in Yemen you need to get it from Saudi (sanduk Malik Salman) or Emirate (Emirati red crescent).

  • Funding. Any project needs money. You can have many ideas, but without money you will do nothing. Three types: Service projects, trading/commerce, production. Service doesn’t need much but the other two you do
  1. I work as a trainer for startups so my life is good. People are happy but I am worried about what happens after training. Do no harm. When you train females or other vulnerable groups they might fail, so what happens if they don’t get funding or meet difficulties with laws or governments or whatever. So I am worried about whether I am helping them or creating false hopes. How can I make sure that I am not harming those people. Because most businesses fail.

  2. Passion. Because even if some of us have ideas but passion dictates how we go about it. If you have passion you have energy. My issue is how to find my passion which areas I can be passionate about

  3. Funding. Taxes. Any time you try to do anything in Arabic country even if you have money/ are generating revenue you will end up losing money. That why if I want to do something I will do it abroad. My biggest project is to leave the country.

  4. Factors for success. Obstacles against success are the hard thing we need to know. Factors for success are available in books and workshops But the main issue is factors against success - if you know them, you can find solutions for how to get around them.

One example there was startup not submitted to oasis or any other- their value offer was whatever you need I will bring it to you. In no time they closed. A nice lady started a venture in silicon valley called catchy. Similar thing. And in 3-4 months she came to UAE and was very successful. One factor of success was she started in Silicon valley not in Jordan. Second is that she didn’t continue in UAE she wouldn’t be able to compete- she got support because she was coming from Silicon Valley, she managed to get local funding. In general you have to know what is the obstacles and who your enemies in the market are - then you have to decide whether you will enter the market or if you have to play on a different playground.* Sharing failures and solidarity.

  • Partnership. What I am thinking about is that I need to have connections into the communities where I would like to work, can give me social or cultural access to the communities. Funding. I want someone to fund my travels because I am traveling to remote communities. I also want to create a team - what I do i always need volunteers. I have a project. I give workshops to kids to teach them how to turn trash into toys. I believe every child has the right to have a toy. In underprivileged places the you can find trash. I find it’s a way to make bridges between people. I managed to give workshop in India, and when I showed them the toys from Egypt it created connection.

  • Registrations - put your name in different platforms. How to find the right platform to put your name on- how to pick the right one and when. There are many different places, and times an. I have a couple of folders to monitor stuff.