Qomrah 2 logo

Qomrah 2 Call for Ideas: Your Chance to Create the Media You Want to See

Uncategorized, Writing

Yesterday, September 30 2016, was the award ceremony for the first season of Qomrah, Ahmad Alshugairi‘s new Ramadan show, which strives to create meaningful media through a competition of short videos anyone around the world can participate in. Some of the winning videos from season one covered themes such as hope, child refugees and autism. These are just a few of the themes that fit the categories of the first season.

This year, the chance to participate-and with that, the chance to win- is open to an even wider audience. Starting today, October 1st and until the end of this month, anyone with an idea for a video can send the details and if the team likes the idea, it will then be posted on the website for the second phase, where filmmakers can choose from the ideas suggested and be financed by Qomrah to create the video. If your idea wins, you have the chance to win up to 500,000 Saudi riyals.

The idea can be about anything from a work of art, to a social experiment or volunteer work and the categories include health and fitness, history, self-development, philosophy, technology and more.

So what are you waiting for? Think of something you’re passionate about and think it’s important for more people to know about and submit!

For more information: Watch the Qomrah 2 promo video and visit the Qomrah website and you can also watch the videos from season 1.

Bilal movie poster

Bilal: A Must-See

Uncategorized, Writing

The movie Bilal was released in Jordan cinemas this weekend and it should not be missed! This movie is inspired by the tale of Bilal ibn Rabah, Islam’s first Muezzin. Barajoun, the Dubai-based company behind this one-of-a-kind animation, sums up the movie’s premise as follows:

A thousand years ago, one boy with a dream of becoming a great warrior is abducted with his sister and taken to a land far away from home.

Thrown into a world where greed and injustice rule all, Bilal finds the courage to raise his voice and make a change.

Here are a few reasons why I loved the movie:

1-Beautiful animation– bright colors and rich details, whether in the depiction of the buildings, the desert or the characters, kept my eyes glued to the screen.

2- Universal ideals-Bilal tells the story of social justice and equality and tackles the issue of slavery, which affects and is a shared history among millions of people around the world. It also discusses themes such as family, brotherhood, conviction and freedom.

3- Relatable heroes- Though this is not the focus of the movie and is not made explicitly clear, Bilal and some of the other inspiring characters are Muslim and/or Arab characters. and this is important because they give viewers in the region, especially young ones, real heroes from their own culture, religion and history, that they can relate to and be proud of.

The feeling of empowerment, stronger faith and pride this movie made me feel are what I appreciated most about the movie.

What are you waiting for? Book your tickets now!

For more information visit the Bilal movie official website and Facebook page.

Wadi Aya

The Adventure of Hiking Wadi Aya

Uncategorized, Writing

Jordan is home to beautiful scenery that those living in the concrete jungle of the capital Amman usually don’t know about- Wadi Aya, a valley between Madaba and Karak which rests beneath a winding, rugged and narrow mountain roadway full of rocks and that can only be reached by a 4WD (or in our case, a run-down green pick-up truck). After about 15 minutes of driving down to the valley in the back of pick-up truck, we reached Wadi Aya, and with our first splash into its waters, our adventure began.

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The trip with our group, Adventure PROS, included guided jumps and an abseil followed by a slide down the many waterbodies of the valley, which are also home to small leaping frogs (saw them live for the first time here!).

After the tiring but adrenaline-filled adventure, we sat on an area of smooth white rock and enjoyed a local cooked meal of Maqloobeh as we dried in the sun.

I would very much recommend Wadi Aya for adventure lovers and for anyone anywhere to get to know the place they live in, wherever that may be, a little better. Go somewhere new, meet new people, see new things, learn and enjoy the adventure of life!

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couple reading by ekelly89

5 Ways Reading Improves Your Mental Health

Articles, Translations, Uncategorized

The significance of reading differs from person to person depending on their inclinations and interests. Some may see it as a good and useful way of spending their free time, while others may see it as a life necessity. However, reading goes beyond being simply a means of enjoyment and gaining knowledge thanks to the many benefits it brings to mental health and capabilities.

In this article, we present to you five benefits of reading that can strengthen the mental capabilities and health of readers.

1. Strengthens Neuron Synapses

Reading is considered to be one of the activities that most motivates the brain to perform its functions and develops neurological communicative and analytical capabilities, especially in children and youth. It also strengthens the neuron synapses in the brain.

2. ِEnhances Focus

The processes the brain performs while reading and analyzing texts vary from reflection to thinking, imagining, analyzing, connecting phenomena with their concepts, which lead to more reflective and expressive writing and speaking, developing analytical skills and increasing focus.

3. Develops Creativity

Creative abilities are directly proportional to the amount of reading done, as reading enables the individual to think differently and to come up with the unprecedented as their horizon widens and their knowledge increases. Many mental health experts have drawn connections between the extent of creative skills development and amount of reading.

4. Activates Memory

As a mental activity and source of strengthening mental skills, regular reading reduces memory loss and lowers the risk of Alzheimer’s; some studies have shown that people with Alzheimer’s who read showed symptoms of the disease later compared to those who do not read.

5. Helps Fight Depression and Anxiety

Reading plays a role in reducing the levels of depression and anxiety because the reader gains new dimensions of thinking that may decrease certain negative thoughts they may have learned through social and personal experience. Reading is considered a resistor against simple neurological diseases, such as headaches and insomnia.

Read the original Arabic article by Diala Al-Rifa’i on Inkitab.

The Lonely Canary

Literary, Translations, Uncategorized

photo (4)

In a big house, there once lived a lonely canary in a cage. The canary would sing every morning and delight the owners with his beautiful voice but when evening came, the canary felt lonely. One morning he woke up and found another canary with him in the cage. They became friends right away and were always together. They ate together, drank together and even sang together. The canary was so happy because he was no longer lonely.

The canary thought there was another bird in the cage, but actually, the owners had hung a mirror in his cage. The friend he saw eating, drinking and singing with him was just his own reflection in the mirror.

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.