2019 Global Award Winner Ahmad, Team
Marginalised and disenfranchised is what 28-year-old Ahmad felt only two years ago.
“I failed at school, at finding a job, at supporting my family, I had no life goals and no hope for a better future; my life felt like a desperate and hopeless void.”
Growing up, Ahmad felt like he had no chance of becoming someone who benefits himself, let alone his community.
“Whenever I would pass by one of my neighbours, people would mutter ‘there’s a trouble-maker’ or ‘here comes trouble’. People had no respect for me. They wouldn’t even greet me.”
Three years later, Ahmad learned of the Adventure Team programme, implemented by Mercy Corps, in partnership with Prince’s Trust International. The 12-week personal development programme includes a one-week camping trip with the goals of reducing toxic stress, building personal resilience and increasing livelihood opportunities. Ahmad participated in a 160 km hike from Karak to Petra. The group blogged, tweeted and held live video updates, reaching over 1 million youth on Facebook. Then, a job came up at a radio station. It was the first time Ahmad had a ‘real’ job where he felt the responsibility of having to arrive on time and complete his tasks well.
“I was finally given the chance to see what lies beyond my community and my toxic habits, that’s when I started developing myself. People actually wanted me to do better, they wanted to me be a better version of myself.”
Through his participation in the programme, Ahmad developed a growing interest in adventure and outdoor activities, he stuck with the training and successfully avoided returning to his old habits.
“I knew that I was being given a chance, so I was fully invested – mind, body, and soul.”
Hiking and exploring, Ahmad discovered the Jordan Trail map and couldn’t find his hometown on it. He contacted the Jordan River Foundation – a local NGO – who were responsible for identifying locations where the trail is set to pass, and after many meetings, they agreed to let Ahmad set up a trail from Salt that would be included in the Jordan Trail Network.”
Now Ahmad is a local guide for the trail in Salt, connecting visitors from around the world to his community. He also works as an Adventure Coach with the Mercy Corps’ Nubader youth program where he gets to practice what he loves while providing vulnerable youth with psychosocial support and self-help skills.
“Things have changed for me, I’ve gained the respect of people that I love, and the community at large. ”
Ahmad travelled to London in March 2019 to receive the Prince’s Trust Global Award from HRH The Prince of Wales at the Palladium Theatre, as well as attending a dinner at Buckingham Palace.