Safe passage: A newsletter for the humanitarian mine action and small arms/light weapons communities - May 2009

from US Department of State
Published on 14 May 2009 View Original

"We Love Life"

by Anne Stewart, Lennis Echterling, Hasan Hamdan, Dennis Barlow and Suzanne Fiederlein, JMU/MAIC

Hands in hands!
Regardless of color,
Regardless of age,
Whether injured or not,
Regardless of beliefs,
To protect people-all people
Because a human is a human.

James Madison University's Mine Action Information Center (MAIC) has collaborated with Jordan's Life Line for Consultancy and Rehabilitation (LLCR) and the National Committee for Demining and Rehabilitation (NCDR) to produce a play and creative arts program called "We Love Life." The play, written by well-known Jordanian playwright Ghannam Ghannam, offers a comprehensive mine-risk education (MRE) experience that meets international and Jordanian standards. The play was performed in February and March for large, appreciative audiences in northwestern Jordan. A special performance in Amman was held on April 4, International Mine Awareness Day.

"We Love Life" is aimed at adolescents aged 11 to 15. The Jordanian cast and crew includes individuals who are survivors of landmine and unexploded ordnance (UXO) accidents. The actors participate with the audience in songs and dances, answer questions, and share their own stories at the conclusion of the performance. The script emphasizes the resilience of survivors who have gone on to thrive. At the conclusion of each performance, audience members receive materials from NCDR with important MRE messages.

Another component of the project includes art activities in a number of communities in the high-risk, northern area of Jordan. For example, in the community of Sima Al Sarhan, Jordanian artist Abdel Aziz Abu Ghazaleh is working with local schoolchildren to create a sculpture in a well-traveled public site. The theme of the sculpture is "Be Safe," and it will include mural artwork by the schoolchildren. Documentarians will record performances of the play and the creation of the community art projects to broadcast later in other venues, including Jordanian television stations.

The project includes several innovations. First, instead of focusing on only information regarding the risks of landmines and UXO, it promotes positive attitudes and appreciation for the resilience of survivors. Second, it emphasizes the message that children can be important resources for promoting the safety and well-being of the entire community. The third innovation is a multifaceted assessment procedure that evaluates knowledge, attitude and behavior changes in the student participants.