Sunlight comes in at all angles at Ruwwad, a community center founded by businessman Fadi Ghandour for the refugee community of East Amman in Jordan.
In a courtyard, a man holds up a snub-nosed camel he’s drawn at the art workshop for mentally disabled adults. Down in one of the alleyways, a 10-year-old has made another piece of art: the model of a magic palace where all the homeless find a place to sleep.
Meanwhile, upstairs, young men and women, some in abayas and some in jeans, debate taboo subjects from religion to suicide in a weekly, guided conversation.
“We respect women. We respect ideas. If you come to Ruwwad, you’re engaging in a process of accepting diversity and critical thinking,” said Ghandour.
The community center, which has opened five other locations in disadvantaged or refugee communities throughout Middle East, is one of Ghandour’s proudest accomplishments.
That is saying a lot.
Ghandour founded the shipping giant Aramex, which now employs 14,000 and trades with a $1.3 billion market capitalization on the Dubai stock exchange. Having left his role as CEO three years ago, Ghandour is emerging as a social and entrepreneurial activist in Jordan.
“What amazes me is the people who find him,” says Christopher Schroeder, a U.S. Internet executive whose book, “Startup Rising,” covered Ghandour and draws attention to entrepreneurs in the Middle East. “They approach him because they think they’ll get a fair shake. He’s just become one of these figures that people reach out to.”
More here (cnbc.com)