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UMSI student Tawfiq Ammari does research in Jordan

UMSI Master of Science in Information student, Tawfiq Ammari, shared with the Career Development Office a blog post on his recent trip to his native country, Jordan. In Jordan, Tawfiq worked on a project pertaining to research on assistive technology and its use in the visually impaired society in collaboration with Dr. Joyojeet Pal, UMSI's resident Assistive Technology expert.

Hot but not sultry, with the occasional zephyr now and then; the hilly city is ancient, yet always re-inventing itself, I am back in my hometown, the capital of Jordan. It has been a year since I left Jordan for my Master’s degree at the University of Michigan School of Information. Going back home and meeting old friends and family was great as always. But this time, I came back in a different capacity, this time, I am a researcher!

I am working on research pertaining to assistive technology and its use in the visually impaired society here in Jordan in collaboration with Dr. Joyojeet Pal, our resident Assistive Technology expert. This has allowed me to see different people working in government institutions, NGOs and regular persons with disabilities who have been able to cope with their disabilities and blend in the Jordanian society. One of the most interesting visits I made was that to Friendship Association for the Blind in Jordan. This is one of the NGOs that provides services to the visually impaired in training them to use technology, in turn, giving them access to many opportunities that would otherwise, be far from their reach.

Another NGO that was of great interest was Ruwwad. Operating in one of the most penurious neighborhoods in the capital, this NGO provides services for the local population whilst at the same time, engaging them in the services and activities provided. This allows the local population to have more ownership of the activities of the NGO and at the same time, allows the NGO’s operations to be
more sustainable.

Whilst visiting Ruwwad, I was shown the services they provide for persons with disabilities. Local artists, musicians and singers have decided to donate some of their time, weekly, to work with the persons with disabilities in the area (most of them intellectually disabled). Many think that these services have proven to be rather successful as those persons with disabilities (whom I met) were quite happy to come to the art lesson.

Later, we went on to see the other services provided by Ruwwad. The bulk of the services provided are directed to children, who have little else to do throughout the summer time. Ruwwad provides them
with a reading space, art lessons, oration and other activities. On the day of my visit, the kids were very excited because they were going on a trip. Although I cannot remember the details, I could tell they were all very happy and did not have the slightest measure of reticence when it came to discussing said visit, but against the wishes of their teachers, did not want to discuss with “the dude with the back-pack” (my nickname for that period of time) their daily activities in the center.

Though Amman is my hometown, this visit has allowed me to see my city from a different point of view. I am happy to have met so many great people. This is, indeed , a great summer.

Posted by kkowatch at August 3, 2012 10:48 AM


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