JOHUD’s computer clubhouses represent more than the chance to use ICT; for young people that have ambitions and the desire to learn new skills, the opportunities for self-development and career progress are endless. Young people at clubhouses are encouraged to learn a variety of practical and interesting skills, from robotics and programming, to music production and graphic design, with a dizzying array of practical qualifications, scholarships and unique opportunities available for the most dedicated and ambitious attendees.
Dunia Basaleh was the perfect example of someone who was likely to achieve the very best if given the chance. Having joined the PBYRC Clubhouse at the age of 18, Dunia quickly became enthusiastically involved in the variety of activities and resources that were available. Interested in graphic design, she began learning how to operate design, video editing, and photo editing programmes, becoming more skilled as time went by. Although she had always been interested in creative pursuits, the new resources inspired Dunia and her peers to think a little bigger.
When she began thinking about taking her education to the next step, the clubhouse resources continued to offer effective support. Like all attendees, Dunia was able to apply for funding from the Clubhouse to Career/Clubhouse to College (C2C) programme to pay for her course fees. Now qualified in graphic design (and having received further qualifications in Photoshop from the clubhouse itself), Dunia is very happy with her career prospects: she later said that “being a graphic designer is a job that dreams are made of; it’s fun, flexible and positively overflowing with opportunities to be creative”.
Of course, the clubhouse is not just about work, with friendships and fun being a huge factor behind the high attendance rates. For Dunia, the social and educational environment of the clubhouse helped her to act in her true role as a leader. After beginning university, Dunia began formally volunteering as a mentor, helping to advise and inspire others who were also thinking of going further in education or their careers. Her kindness and friendliness as a mentor earned her the nickname “sweetie”, and she remained a popular and knowledgeable figure for students needing help or advice.
Dunia’s penchant for helping others led to her maintain an active presence on the Community Village website, which links clubhouse members from across the globe. Along with volunteering in the clubhouse in Jordan, Dunia frequently engaged with international members, offering advice and tutorials on software and project ideas. When the opportunity came for Jordan to attend the Teen Summit in 2014 (a global meeting of young clubhouse members in Boston), Dunia was an obvious choice to chaperone the Jordanian contingent.
Now in 2015, Dunia’s experience with the clubhouse has come full circle. Having finished her studies, Dunia has returned to the Amman clubhouse full time, only this time as its leader and coordinator. Her previous experience as a volunteer mentor has helped prepare her for the demands of leadership, as she now oversees the demanding Adobe Youth Voice Award entries and advises others on the best ways to earn a C2C scholarship. She hopes to use her new leadership skills in the future, aiming to become a certified event planner.
When asked about how she thought the clubhouse had affected her life, Dunia doesn’t mince her words, citing the importance of being given opportunities in a place where they were sometimes thin on the ground. “For me, the clubhouse, is a place of joy that can change your thoughts and your world. When you challenge other people’s ideas of who or how you should be, they may try to diminish or shame you…. You can spend a lifetime resenting these tests, angry about the slights and injustices, or you can rise above it. The clubhouse helped me to rise above it”.