A Second Chance
Leaving school is not the kind of thing one decides lightly. For many, it is a rational choice borne out of necessity; the need to provide more for one’s family, the desire to succeed in the workplace, or the perceived need to avoid failure in the exams. Anas was 14 when he decided to leave school, his reasons a combination of all of the above, and his mind sure that he had made the best decision possible.
A feeling of regret only began creeping in when he was 16 – he later said that “I honestly wished I could turn back time”. His job as a carpenter’s assistant in a woodworking shop was tiring, unfulfilling, and worst of all, dangerous. Most of the equipment he worked with daily could slice off a careless hand, and Anas often drew the short straw when jobs were handed out on account of his age. His attitude to life and care for his own health began to resemble that of a man far older than 16, as the boy began smoking and adopting a world-weary attitude to life. Despite his problems, he felt unable to return to school, wishing more than anything to avoid the humiliation of being the oldest in his grade by 2 years.
Anas was first exposed to the Social Support Centre when he met some young people who visited his workplace. They begun to tell him about the activities there. “I don’t know why I was so eager to learn more”, he later remembered, although something that had been said had clearly stirred him into action. Within a week, he paid his first visit to the centre.
Whilst speaking about the centre now, he is full of praise. “I found myself and my goals at the centre. My time spent there was one of the most beautiful in my life… I had friends that were like brothers and I was treated very decently”. In a practical sense, the training on offer helped Anas to think about life after the centre and invest in a future with brighter prospects.
Anas chose to change his working life completely and specialise in the hospitality sector. The SSC helped to arrange vocational training that would provide a means to enter the sector, and Anas took to it with real passion and talent, passing all theoretical and practical tests with flying colours.
Now, the once invisible working teenager has a good job at one of Amman’s biggest hotels. In a competitive working environment, Anas has achieved an employee of the month certificate and has cemented his place as a necessary member of the team. He has also re-enrolled in formal education. Still keen to avoid the humiliation of returning to school, he now studies at home in his off hours. Ever ambitious, he plans to get a university degree, or at least continue his studies into higher education in one form or another.
Not content with a good job and studying commitments, he has also opened his own falafel business and catering shop, and sometimes visits the SSC to encourage younger participants to stick to their goal-setting. His own passion is infectious. “”I am proud of myself and my achievements…. I learned at the SSC that nothing is impossible, that you’ve never “missed the opportunity”, and that you can always start again”. With the work of the SSC and the spectacular example of graduates like Anas, more marginalised young people can hopefully realise their potential and achieve similar success.