Article is adapted from The Jordan Times- Muath Freij
“AMMAN –– At the parking lot of one of west Amman’s major shopping centers, three large boxes have been installed, inviting shoppers and passers-by to donate books, clothes and toys.
Under an initiative titled “Pass it on,” the boxes, located at Cozmo Centre near the 7th Circle and available 24 hours, are part of a project launched in 2012 to encourage people to donate items they don’t use to benefit others in need.
It is implemented by THE Group — which owns Cozmo supermarket and Readers bookshop, and operates franchises BHS and Hamleys — in collaboration with Under My Olive Tree, an NGO that promotes social activism, volunteerism, the right to education and sustainable projects in less privileged areas in Jordan.
Ali Dahmash, the NGO’s founder, said the initiative received a positive response, with the large volume of donations leading to bigger boxes being permanently installed.
During the first six months of the initiative, around 240 sacks of books, clothes and toys were distributed, according to Under My Olive Tree figures.
Jordanian families and refugees benefit from the assistance, according to Farah Mansour, Under My Olive Tree programme coordinator, who added that it is distributed in all the Kingdom’s governorates.
Dahmash said his NGO can reach the right people who deserve this assistance due to its cooperation with a network of local community organisations in the governorates.
THE Group Marketing Manager Hiba Manna said this encouraged the company to cooperate with Under My Olive Tree.
“We noticed that the number of donated items continued to rise after the first six months of introducing the idea,” she told The Jordan Times, adding that donations usually increase around Ramadan, Eid holidays and Christmas.
Mansour said donations of English and Arabic books are welcomed.
“It is easier to distribute Arabic books. We usually sell the English books in fairs and use the proceeds to prepare assistance parcels for underprivileged families,” she added.
Donated Arabic books for children have been sent to places such as the Azraq Refugee Camp library, the tented school in Sahab and nine other schools in Jordan, she noted.
Other books are sent to the distribution centres to be given to children or for charities to use in their own libraries.
Dahmash expressed hope that delivery companies in Jordan will show an interest in taking part in the initiative, as the organisers find it difficult to transport the items.
“We suffer from a lack of trucks. We usually post in our social networks that we need volunteers to help us pick up the items,” he noted.
The “uniqueness” of the “Pass it on” initiative, said Dahmash, is the fact that the organisers aim for longevity.
“Some people expressed amazement that this initiative is not designed for a specific occasion or time,” he added.
Manna said the organisers are considering expanding the initiative to reach out to remote areas and communities, noting that the positive public response is proof that people are still willing to give.”