Thursday, October 30, 2008

Moving Forward

JumpStart International’s vocational toy enterprise training is beginning to make headway beyond its initial simplicity and moving toward introducing more challenging material involving both manufacturing and general business management. To date, all participants and staff have been extremely supportive as the project increasingly embraces more challenging assignments. Many of the skills may be new and certainly not everything is easy, yet there is a sincere desire to learn, and JumpStart looks forward to meeting the growing interest of participants and Iraqi staff alike.

Getting down to business

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Training Commenced

Two participants in the program

JumpStart International is pleased to share that it has begun vocational training of displaced Iraqi and marginalized Jordanian youth in Amman with its pioneering toy enterprise. For the initial six-month phase, the project will be housed in an independent building in Amman under the jurisdiction of the Jordan Red Crescent Society (JRC). The program is focused on the vocational training of 20 participants, staffed by two Iraqi trainers and two Jordanian mentors who guide the participants in day-to-day activities, while JRC, JumpStart, and Kitegang staff provide guidance and operational support as needed. If the ongoing viability of a toy-making business seems plausible, the program will increasingly focus training towards the self-sufficiency of the enterprise (as well as smaller participant spin-offs). For now, we are simply pleased to be up and running in Amman and working with so many wonderful participants.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Toy Project Overview

JumpStart International is currently leading an initiative to create a pioneering Middle Eastern toy enterprise project that will serve as a vocational training vehicle for displaced Iraqi and marginalized Jordanian youth who have fallen outside of traditional support efforts. Working with the Jordan Red Crescent Society (JRC) and Kitegang, the world's first non-profit toy company, the project initiates an experimental toy-making business for young adults from Iraq and Jordan that, while impoverished, share a motivation to create something better for themselves and their communities.

Toy Project staff and participants, with members of Jordan Red Crescent Society, Kitegang, and JumpStart International

The Toy Project's initial goal is to address the psychosocial and financial needs of participants through the creation of a vocational training enterprise that provides structure and living stipends. Beyond the emotional and financial supports, the project will also emphasize civic and vocational lessons to empower participants to pursue productive livelihoods well beyond the life of the program. As a result, the expected achievements of this project include
  • mitigating the effects of violence and regional instability on the participants by creating greater hope and opportunity through structured, yet upbeat, vocational training
  • meeting the immediate financial needs of 20 participants by also providing living stipends
  • increasing business and life skills of young adults residing in Jordan through progressive and individually tailored business training
  • engaging young people as civic-minded, productive members of society
In combination, the project essentially aspires to address some of the most pressing regional needs with some of the simplest tools – in this case all centered around the business of making toys. While the number of people involved is limited to start, the quality of training and support that goes into each participant is sizeable – in line with the project’s goals of making a meaningful difference in the long-term development of each participant.