Solidarity Without Borders in Jordan

A one-month Volunteering Teams in High Priority Areas project, Nov. 2023

Solidarity Without Borders in Jordan

Solidarity Without Borders in Jordan is a one-month Volunteering Teams in High Priority Areas project, involving 40 volunteers from Portugal, Germany and Jordan, took place in AsSalt, Jordan. The project was coordinated by 'Associao Medestu' Portugal and implemented by Desert Bloom, Jordan in cooperation with Albalqa Institute for Creativity in Bayoudha Village.


The project made significant strides in addressing unmet societal challenges within the realm of "preservation of cultural heritage," leveraging eco-friendly and sustainable methodologies. It not only implemented environmental responsibility but also fostered awareness of cultural heritage preservation among participating volunteers and target groups. The initiative proved transformative for young volunteers, enhancing their personal, social, and professional skills.

A diverse array of discussions, workshops and field visits deepened participants' understanding of crucial topics, spanning sustainability issues, climate change, climate justice, sport and healthy lifestyle, olive harvesting and pressing, organic farming, and permaculture practices. The project facilitated hands-on experience, including the planting of over 1500 native trees for local reforestation, establishing a community garden for local inhabitants, and constructing a wood-fired oven using mud-building techniques common in permaculture.

Moreover, the initiative promoted language exchange through self-organized classes in Arabic, Portuguese, and German. Engaging in regular soccer and judo practices with local children, along with organizing three intercultural nights representing each nation involved, further encouraged transcultural exchange with the local community. The volunteers are poised to positively impact the local community, particularly the target groups comprising children, youngsters, migrants, and refugees.

In addition to their impactful work, volunteers seized the opportunity to explore Jordan. Their itinerary included visits to:

  1. The Royal Hashemite Court
  2. The city of As-Salt, recognized on the UNESCO World Heritage List as "the city of tolerance and civilized hospitality." It boasts around 650 significant historic buildings showcasing a blend of European Art Nouveau, Neo-Colonial styles, and local traditions.
  3. Petra and Wadi Rum, where they immersed themselves in the Bedouins' nomadic and tribal traditions.
  4. Aqaba
  5. Roman Ruins of Jerash

This holistic approach not only contributed to cultural heritage preservation but also provided volunteers with a rich cultural and educational experience, fostering a profound connection between the project and the community it served.

Some reflections from volunteers

Areefa Albqowr- Jordan

I am proud that I have successfully completed the Solidarity Without Borders project in as Salt, and I am thrilled to present my feedback of the profound impact this month has had on me. Spanning a month, the project unfolded with a myriad of activities and positive interactions, creating an environment conducive to cultural exchange and personal growth.

Language acquisition took center stage throughout the program, with engaging lessons in Arabic, Portuguese, and German. What set this experience apart was the direct interaction with native speakers, providing an immersive learning environment. Beyond linguistic skills, we delved into the exploration of diverse cultures and traditions, sharing moments that encompassed a spectrum of emotions—happiness, sadness, joy, longing, tears, gratitude, thanks, reflection, culture, discussions, housing, and everything in between.

Living together 24/7 for an entire month allowed us to form deep connections. Our journey began with icebreaker exercises at our designated chalets, where laughter-filled games and "Protect Your Dream" exercises infused camaraderie into the group. Area tours acquainted us with the places and projects slated for exploration during our stay.

The primary goal of language exchange was admirably achieved. Arabic was taught to the German and Portuguese groups, while we absorbed lessons in their respective languages. English served as our common medium, fostering a collaborative and inclusive learning environment.

Noteworthy activities such as olive picking and tree planting allowed us to connect with the local community, contributing to the town's greenery. Transplanting shrubs, preparing the soil, and planting over 1500 trees left an indelible mark, symbolizing our collective effort to nurture growth and create lasting memories.

Community Garden activities, though in a smaller area, were equally meaningful. Working together, following clear lines, and completing each row solidified our sense of collaboration and shared purpose.

Traditional Cultural Nights played a pivotal role, with teams from different countries showcasing their unique heritage through food, attire, songs, and dances. From Portuguese culinary delights to engaging German games and the richness of Jordanian traditions, each night offered a delightful journey into cultural diversity.

As the project concluded, the impact lingers on. Parting was emotional, but the exchange of physical letters proved to be a thoughtful touch, allowing us to revisit shared memories and the kindness embedded in each word. The yearning for these moments began before they ended, and as each person departed, they took a part of another with them, influencing and connecting us on a profound level. While we may not physically reunite, the heart and memory persist, and we remain connected in thought, grounded beneath the same sky, awaiting the surprises of coincidences that bind us together.

Aisling Groll


I am extremely grateful for the experiences I gained during my participation in the project. Particularly the continuous exchange with the other Jordanian and Portuguese participants provided me with valuable insights and perspectives. I also immensely enjoyed the interactions with members of the local community and am grateful for the openness, kindness, and hospitality they welcomed us with. I personally also enjoy being outdoors and working practically which many activities enabled me to do. 


While some aspects could be improved it is worth acknowledging that the team of continuously present responsible organizers/ project “leaders” was extremely small considering the high number of participants. It was clear to see that Elham and Rúben did all they could to provide every participant with a valuable experience. Perhaps it could be beneficial for another project of this size to account for more people with a supervising/supporting function.


Mirjam Liebl


During the project, we had a lot of time to socialize with the other participants. Looking

back, talking with Jordanians about the Jordanian culture and Islam helped me to

understand better why things like marriage work in this society like they do. I appreciated

that we made many trips to different places, so we saw different sides of Jordan like the

beautiful nature and small, medium-sized, and big cities. We ate many traditional dishes and

danced a lot. Something I particularly enjoyed was the three cultural nights. I also liked the

working activities in the garden, planting trees, and playing sports with children. I think we should have planted trees or worked in the community garden more frequently than once a week, especially because we quit the activity because of rain at the end of the project. Elham did very well and always tried to accommodate everyone’s needs but we

should have had different people who focused on different parts of the project in my opinion.

It was hard to coordinate the group as people went to different houses during the day when

there was free time.


Frank Pietsch


I'm very fortunate to have been able to be involved in the project in As-Salt because it was a unique experience in every way. Working together with Jordanians, Portuguese and Germans in a meaningful and lasting way shaped us all during the project and even beyond. I was very happy to get the chance to plant trees and to meet the local community. I hope that we had a lasting impact on the environment, but we certainly grew as a community. We made some lasting connections and got some insights into a life, that is not that different from our life in Europe, but still, we had to question some common beliefs. I especially value the time we spend talking with each other and getting to know each other better. Through this, we got insight into different ways of thinking and living and we will certainly not be the same anymore. I also think that all of us became friends through working together in an honest and simple way and through our different ways of approaching life in general. Also, the food was nice.



Florian Kempkens


I personally liked the project because the catering was good and there was enough food. In addition to that, there was a wonderful community spirit which was very enjoyable. The intercultural experiences and encounters with the local community gave me a lot and I learned much.