Bringing Music and Art to the Streets of Amman

BarakaBits, Writing

While walking down Amman streets, Sami found time and time again that they were void of life and beauty. A lover of music, he thought to himself, “Why not bring art to the streets?”

That’s exactly what this exciting event “Music Rings in the Streets of Amman” aims to do. While speaking to Sami Nada, one of the organizers of the event,he explained to BarakaBits that the goal of this event is “to introduce people to street art and its beauty and spread a message of peace and love. It also aims to break the rigidity of the art culture on the streets.” He defines street art as a spontaneous artistic expression of freedom, peace and love and one that creates an intimate relationship between the artists and audience.
Sami adds that
“there is a growing group of artists and lovers of art in Jordan who do not seek any monetary gain out of their art. All they want is to send a message of peace and love through their art but they do not have the space to freely do so.”

According to the organizer, “this event, which is the first of its kind in Jordan, will provide that space.” The event will share both the culture of street music and street art with a complete performance by inspiring percussionists and other artists in the field of street art such as freestyle dancers, fire performers and mime artists. Local artists  from Jordan will bring life to the streets of Amman through Arabic music as well as other exciting performances.

So if you’re an artist or an art lover, don’t miss the event! This one-of-a-kind street art event will take place in Jabal l’Weibdeh on Thursday October 20, 2016.
For more information visit the event’s Facebook page.
This article was originally published on BarakaBits on October, 15, 2016.

SEP- Supporting Palestinian Women Refugees With Every Stitch

BarakaBits, Writing

Last year, we told you about the Social Enterprise Project (SEP), which employs skilled Palestinian refugee women at the Gaza refugee camp in Jerash, Jordan as artisans. These artisans make many unique handmade products, including embroidered home and fashion accessories, like shawls, tablecloths, bags, towels and scarves. Now we’re back with some exciting updates about the project! But first, here are just a few reasons why we love SEP:

  • It supports refugee women– The women behind the handmade pieces are all refugees. Working with SEP, they receive above-market rates for their work. SEP empowers less fortunate women through providing them with professional, personal and economic stability.
  • It is eco-sustainable– All the embroidery is handmade and so is most of the assembling; therefore, minimal machinery is used. SEP also manufactures locally and ensures recycling is a part of the production process. This awareness has not gone unnoticed. SEP was awarded the Butterfly Mark which, according to SEP’s website, “is awarded to luxury lifestyle brands that take pride in their craftsmanship, service and design, whilst protecting our planet and its resources”.
  • It revives Palestinian heritage– SEP brings a piece of Palestinian heritage into our homes through its various products. Also, SEP introduces more people to the artisans’ work. It also brings the Palestinian art of embroidery to the world through partnering with influential ambassadors, such as Mary Nazzal-Batayneh, a barrister, human rights activist, and founder of Landmark Hotels,  as well as Chaker Khazaal, who is named Arabian Business Most Influential Young Arab 2016 and Esquire Man of the Year 2015. The Chaker scarf, one of SEP’s products, is endorsed by Roger Waters of Pink Floyd!

We’ll now leave you with a quote from Roberta about what inspired the SEP project.

“When you have been a refugee for 50 years, you stop dreaming, you stop hoping, you stop planning. This was the the reality when we started working in the Jerash refugee camp in Jordan in 2013. And this is why we decided to step in as the private sector and over time, replace the dependence on aid: working with the refugees, accompanying them above the poverty level and enabling them to monetize and celebrate their skills as well as their talent, heritage and culture via a peer-to-peer relationship. We believe that ’aid overdose’ can be counter-productive, as we can see every day in our work.”

For more information: visit SEP’s website, Facebook Page and Instagram.


This article was originally published on BarakaBits on July 3rd, 2016.

ridzdesign, 30 faces 30 places lebanon irusa

Ramadan Memories Shared by 30 Faces from 30 Places

BarakaBits, Uncategorized, Writing

The Muslim community is rich with diversity. This diversity in culture and tradition can be seen in the different ways people celebrate the holy month of Ramadan around the world. This Ramadan, Islamic Relief USA delivered food packages to 30 countries. To capture the unique ways Ramadan is celebrated in each of these 30 countries, Islamic Relief worked with photographer Ridwan Adhami. During this Ramadan, Adhami took photos of Muslims in the United States who originate from these 30 countries. Every day of the month, Adhami shared with the world a new photo and memory of Ramadan from a new country.

The countries range in culture and location from Zimbabwe and Albania to South Africa and Somalia. Also among the countries are those in the Middle East and North Africa region:  Lebanon, Jordan, Yemen, Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Tunisia and Sudan. Here are some of the photos and memories shared:

30 faces, 30 places tunisia ridzdesign ramadan

Day 4: Ramadan in Tunisia

“We had a revolution, but before that for over 20 years, hijab was against the law, and mosques were closed for the vast majority of the day. So there’s still not a lot of mosque life. I felt it. It’s always been a fine line, people tip-toeing around what’s allowed.”

30 faces, 30 places palestine ridzdesign ramadan

Day 9: Ramadan in Palestine

“The kids go out in groups with the lanterns. And it was safe, you never worried about bombs. It was so peaceful. We would take the lanterns and knock on doors. We would say, ‘wahaweeya wahawee’ and they would open the door and give us candy. Every night in Ramadan I looked forward to it.”

Day 11 entry Ridzdesign Imam Magid

Day 11: Ramadan in Sudan

“There’s a very nice tradition in Sudan where the people in the neighborhood would bring the food every night outside on the street and break fast in the street, and they would not allow anyone passing by to pass without sitting and eating. There would be some people who would stand in the road and insist for people to get off their buses and stop the cars to join the iftar, and they would insist for you to not be driving after sunset.”

30 faces, 30 places Day 13 Ridz design Souheil lebanon

Day 13: Ramadan in Lebanon

“Ramadan has a great flavor…different from any other time of the year.”

30 faces, 30 places syria ridzdesign ramadan

Day 14: Ramadan in Syria

“Every family would send a child before maghrib time to the neighborhood shop to get fresh falafel, hummus, and atayef. The most important thing is the atayef.”

30 faces, 30 places iraq ridzdesign ramadan

Day 21: Ramadan in Iraq

“It’s as if you are going back to live those beautiful memories. Although we share so many traditions and customs, there is something very special for each town, for each city.”

To view more photos and read more memories from the series visit Ridwan Adhami’s Facebook page, Instagram and the Islamic Relief USA website.


This article was originally published on BarakaBits on July 7, 2016.

Join Cycling4Palestine 2016 in Jordan & Palestine this Friday

BarakaBits, Uncategorized, Writing

If you’re in Jordan or Palestine and are looking to get active and at the same time to do good, we have just the right event for you! On Friday April 22, 2016, the Welfare Association for Youth (WAY) will be hosting its 5th Cycling4Palestine event.

The aim of the event is to demonstrate solidarity and raise awareness and funds for WAY’s projects. Each year, the funds raised go to different humanitarian and social projects in Palestine. This year’s theme is “solutions from within”, and all funds raised will go to projects that lead to sustainable development. One of the projects that will be supported by the funds raised in this event will empower women in the agriculture sector in Palestine.

When BarakaBits asked about the message and goal of the event Tamer Atia, President of WAY, said, “We choose to cycle because cycling offers a sustainable viable alternative to all other means of transport. Many communities in Palestine have the potential to utilize cycling as an effective tool of bridging villages and resources, thus enabling us to reach our schools, families, homes and workplaces. Cycling ultimately gives us control over movement.”

Moreover, Darin Zeidan, WAY Program Manager told BarakaBits, “I’m excited to meet everyone and see young people outside Palestine working for the Palestinian cause.”  During our interview with Zeidan, she also expressed her excitement for this year’s event as it will take place in both Palestine and Jordan and emphasized the importance of such events and its role in engaging and reminding the youth of the Palestinian cause.  It is also worth noting that this year Cycling4Palestine is organized by young volunteers.

The program includes cycling followed by lunch and an interactive segment including live performances and a quiz show. Cycling4Palestine is a family-friendly event open to all ages.

Enjoy your springtime by joining this event. Stay active, have fun and as always don’t forget to smile :) !

For more information: visit the event’s page on Facebook and the Welfare Association for Youth website.


This article was originally published on BarakaBits on April 16, 2016.

REGISTER NOW: Disrupt!/Music!/ in Amman

BarakaBits, Uncategorized, Writing

Do you have a passion for music and want to make it your career? Do you have an idea for a business in the music industry? Or the answer to a problem musicians face? Disrupt!/Music!/ might be the perfect event to help you turn your idea into a reality. We talked to Mohamad Ismail of Indiepush to learn more about the event.

Can you tell us more about the event?

Disrupt!/Music!/ is part of a training series created and supported by HIVOS Mideast Creatives. Disrupt events are held throughout the Middle East andprovide training and financial support for participants who are implementing projects or businesses within the creative industry sectors, such as music, design, animation, publishing, film or media.

Disrupt!/Music!/ is all about music and giving life to great, creative, and disruptive ideas by supporting dedicated people to take their ideas to the next level.

The event, which takes place over three days starting March 24th at the Zain Innovation Campus (ZINC) in the King Hussein Business Park, is organized by Belbalah, a new agency that supports the alternative and independent music scene in the Middle East, feesheh, and indiepush, and is sponsored by HIVOS Mideast Creatives. The first day is relaxed and approximately three hours, and is intended to be an ice-breaker and introduction to the activities of the following two days, which include business model training, three hours of music industry workshops and three hours of music marketingconducted by Budi Voogt from Heroic Records, Middle East music industry mentoring from Abed Agha of Vinelabs, and one-on-one mentoring sessions with experts from business, startups, and creative industries, such as Tamer Masri founder of Jobedu, experienced entrepreneur Zaid Masri, Shermine Sawalha founder of Malahi, Wael Attili founder of Kharabeesh, Lubna Juqqa of MidEasttunes, Mahmood Jrere of DAM rap group and founder of Indiepush, and Maher Jilani founder of Plexable, among others.

Approximately 20 teams will enhance their music business or project ideas through the mentoring and workshops, and pitch to an independent jury who will select the best three ideas and teams. The prizes, which include 6,000 EUR in cash prizes (3,000 for first place, 2,000 for second, and 1,000 for third place), and Zoomaal credits for crowdfundable projects worth $1,000 will be distributed among the winners as well.

What impact do you hope Disrupt!/Music!/ will have?

We are bringing together a great collection of people who are involved in the local and international music industry (artists, entrepreneurs, successful label owners, agents, as well as business, music and creative industry mentors), with a two-fold intention. 1) Help people in the region who are either just starting or thinking about starting a project or business in music enhance and take their idea to the next level, and 2) impact the local players already operating in the emerging scene by connecting them with key people and institutions that are working to grow, invest, and develop the industry. In addition, the workshops we’ve designed address the main pain-points, that we, as a community, must not only address but solve to move the emerging music scene beyond part-time hobbyist and into an industry that is able to sustain respectable livelihoods for the people working within it- the musicians, producers, studios, managers, agents, and entrepreneurs. That’s why, for example, we’re bringing Budi Voogt of Heroic Records and Abed Agha from Vinelabs, to be the main trainers and mentors of the event. They have both built successful and profitable music businesses, one in the European market and one in the Middle East, that address, at their core, the artistic and business needs of the musicians they work with.

 Any other details you would like readers to know? 

The deadline to apply is March 15th. and the application, which is very simple, can be submitted in both Arabic or English, and is found here:

We encourage all applications. We are seeing artistic people being timid about applying because of the business element. We want them to know that all things aside, what we are really looking for are passionate, dedicated people who want to bring their ideas to life or enhance the ones they are pursuing. The event is intended to support people who are passionate about the emerging scene, so we are open to all and any ideas and people who truly want to do just that, Disrupt music here.

Interested in learning more about the event? Visit the event’s page on Facebook and Mideast Creatives’ website.
Mideast Creatives will also be hosting a similar training event in Cairo for performing artists from April 8-10, 2016.


This article was originally published on BarakaBits on March 14, 2016.

Desert designs logo

Desert Designs Brings Bedouin Designs to Your Home

BarakaBits, Uncategorized, Writing

A store that started in a tent in 1990 during the Gulf War, Desert Designs can be found today on King Abdulla Street in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia. Since then, the store has grown to offers a customized furniture department, interior design services, a contemporary art galley and café in addition to a retail store. This family business brings tribal Bedouin designs to your home. The store’s products range from accessories to custom-made lighting, bright weaved rugs, ceramic vases with Arabic calligraphy, hand-painted coffee tables, paintings and even handbags.

In addition to furniture and home accessories, Desert Designs provides artists with a platform to talk about art through Huna Art, a space much needed in the country. In August, for example, Desert Designs held a talk by Emily Fiddy, a certified expressive arts therapist. The gallery space and meeting area are available for rent for events; Desert Designs’s Cafea Arab hosts Kalimat Literary, a monthly ladies book club.

Desert Designs offers beautiful pieces rooted in Saudi culture to decorate your home and a cultural space open to all art lovers.

For more information: Visit Desert Design’s website, Facebook page, and follow them on Twitter and Instagram

This article was originally posted on BarakaBits on October 18, 2015.

Discover Petra with Queen Rania Al-Abdullah

BarakaBits, Uncategorized, Writing

Jordan’s rose-red city is now just a click away with Google Street View. Google worked on its most recent Street View project, which was launched on November 23, 2015, with Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah. Alongside one of the world’s seven wonders, more than 30 historical sites in Jordan can now be viewed virtually.

In a guest post on Google’s blog, Queen Rania Al-Abdullah shared, “With Google Street View, would-be visitors, or those just curious to learn more about our ancient lands, can explore Jordan’s unique historical heritage online. That’s one of the reasons I love this technology. Not only does it connect millions of people from all corners of the world, it provides a lens on the past. And when we understand more about each other’s stories and cultures and histories, we realize that we are more alike than we are different. That’s why we must preserve these treasures for future generations. They’re a doorway to our shared narrative.”

Google Street View has traveled to all seven continents and allows anyone with an Internet connection to explore areas in more than 65 countries. Other areas available for Street View in the Middle East include the pyramids of Giza and the Liwa Oasis.

For more information: Visit Petra’s Trek page.

This article was originally published on BarakaBits on 24/11/2015.