Thanks to @fadig and @toosketch today I had the opportunity to visit Ruwwad, an NGO which is situated in a poor area of East Amman, mostly populated by Palestinians. I spent hours and hours sitting and talking with Samar, Fares, Tareq, together with Eman and Issa from the Jordan Open Source Association.
The key, simple concept they are working on is: don`t give money or education to people according to what you like and think, rather ask them what they want. And make it sustainable. Not money, but rather a mindset which helps to build up an individual, a free-thinker, maybe a self-entrepreneur. Ruwwad is the first NGO I`ve met in the Middle East who doesn`t work within a sort of “welfare” or “subsidizing” mentality. It rather establishes an ongoing contact with the community of the people living in Jebel Nathif and asks them what they would need to improve their lives. And this way they have built a secondary school, the post office, a library, a children workshop, a ceramics workshop, a computer lab, places where an ongoing process of continuous education is happening.
I wish all the NGOs who got subsidized by Western countries would do the same. Listen to people and to their needs, instead of jumping there with a top-down approach.