Youth Supports Peers in Coping with Social Dilemmas

A young male adopts his peers’ ideas and pushes them a step further

Refat Freihat, 26, is an active youth with eight years of volunteer experience in his community. Residing in the dense community of Kufranja, Refat was one of the many youths whose parents followed social stereotypes and pushed them to join the scientific track of high school topics in hopes in studying medicine. After many challenges, our friend attained a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Al-Balqa Applied University in Salt.

In September 2017, Refat encountered USAID YouthPower at a community outreach meeting at Princess Basma Center for Human Development, where he joined the program’s learning activities and became a facilitator. Through the program, Rafat found the enabling environment that allowed him to learn and grow, from a facilitator to a youth trainer on problem-solving, advocacy, volunteerism, awareness raising and learning topics. Additionally, and out of his desire to support his peers in overcoming unemployment and advocating for themselves and their communities, our committed friend became a youth coordinator for tourism initiatives in the northern communities.

“My personal goal is to protect my peers from the challenges I endured. I aim to adopt my peers’ ideas and help them achieve their ambitions.” —Refat Freihat, Leader of Choose Right initiative.

But Refat’s efforts did not stop here, as he also designed his own initiative to raise  awareness of high school students and their families to choose the proper educational track  (scientific vs. vocational) based on their personal interests and capacity, without solely bowing  to the expectations of their families and communities  for their future. “It is very common for families to impose their own expectation onto our future without considering the market’s needs and available opportunities in the specific field,” Refat said. Entitled Choose Right, Refat’s initiative, aims to support youth by prevent unemployment at an early stage. It also  works to establish a positive environment at schools within their communities through maintenance of school seats,  painting of wall murals and various other projects.

“I hope to continue supporting youth in order for them to not become victims of social dilemmas, and to make decisions based on their own plans,” Refat said.

USAID YouthPower continues to empower youth like Refat to act as engaged citizens and productive members of society to advocate for themselves, and to shape services designed to better prepare them to enter higher education, vocational training and the workforce.

Region: Middle East, Jordan
Area of expertise: Psychosocial Support, Youth