Jordan: A journey of exploration and discovery

by | 19 Dec 2018

Celebrating 10 years of working to #MakeTravelMatter with our not-for-profit partner The TreadRight Foundation, TreadRight Ambassador Céline Cousteau and a group of influential storytellers recently joined us on a journey of exploration and discovery in awe-inspiring Jordan, where we visited the Iraq al-Amir Women’s Cooperative outside of Amman.

Unemployment for women in Jordan is at around 33% in urban areas and even higher than that in rural areas. The cooperative was founded in 1993 with the goal of making the women in the region financially independent, as well as preserving local heritage.

The TreadRight Storytellers team’s goal was to gain a greater appreciation for and understanding of the Iraq al-Amir Women’s Cooperative’s important work and future goals, as well as the struggles they might face as they look to achieve them and help share them with the world.

“As an organization and with the support of Insight Vacations, we are working to make travel matter. The Iraq al-Amir Women’s Cooperative is a perfect example of the kind of initiative that can harness the power of travel and tourism and use it to make real, sustainable positive changes in people’s lives,” says Shannon Guihan, Program Director of The TreadRight Foundation. “It was a privilege to be welcomed with such warmth and humour by the women who call the cooperative home. We heard story after story of lives transformed for the better through Iraq al-Amir, and the relationships formed there. Now TTC has the honour of introducing our audiences to those stories through our new video and by taking guests to visit the cooperative in Jordan.”

“To be here with The TreadRight Foundation and have them enable us to easily experience these situations and have there be plenty of adventure along the way, it’s exciting, it’s transformational, and it really makes you feel the best you can possibly feel when you leave the country to know that you have made travel matter,” adds storyteller Alison Teal of Alison Adventures.

Managed and run by local women, Iraq al-Amir has provided training to more than 150 women from all villages of the Wadi Seer district of Jordan, teaching them to make beautiful pottery and paper so that they may have a space to come together and show visitors Jordanian hospitality. The handmade products are sold on site at the gift shop, as well as online.

The TreadRight Foundation helps to support the Iraq al-Amir Women’s Cooperative through its People pillar, which encourages the cultures, traditions, and arts of the communities Insight Vacations visits, seeking to enable these communities to experience the true benefit of travel and tourism through economic empowerment. This is achieved through support of micro-enterprises and community-based travel and tourism initiatives that build a positive future for community members and their families.

TreadRight is working with the cooperative to upgrade the gift shop, as well as provide merchandising expertise, and allow the group to expand their food services, creating more income opportunities for the cooperative’s members.

“We’re working together to help the cooperative to become a viable business,” explains Guihan. “The idea of creating viable economic opportunities through travel and tourism is central to TreadRight’s People pillar. The Iraq al-Amir Women’s Cooperative will be a testament to that.”

Following the TreadRight Storytellers experience the foundation produced its newest Storytellers video, showing the incredible beauty of Jordan and the inspiring work of the Iraq al-Amir Women’s Cooperative.

You can visit the Iraq Al-Amir Women’s Cooperative on our Jordan Experience itinerary. 

I'm Alex, Editor of Insightful. I have over 10 years' experience as a travel writer and editor, and have been lucky enough to visit some incredible destinations in that time. Canada, Italy and Iceland are (so far) my favorite places on Earth, but at the top of my wish list for future adventures is India. I'm fascinated by indigenous cultures and traditions, have a hearty appetite for history (but a poor memory for dates), and feel most at home in wild, unpopulated landscapes.