Osammem sheds light on marginalized groups

Osammem’s members believe that it is their duty to empower marginalized groups through art and design. (Photos: Handouts from Enas Khazaleh)
AMMAN — Enas Khazaleh, Sara Dwairi, Omar Gharaibeh, and Osama Gharaibeh, a group of university students who appreciate art and design, were looking for ways to use their talents to help society, particularly marginalized groups. In 2020, they launched Osammem, an initiative that highlights misconceptions, attempts to correct them, and works to empower marginalized groups through art.اضافة اعلان

The group members each have a talent that help them carry out Osammem activities: Khazaleh is talented in digital design, Omar and Osama Gharaibeh are photographers, and Sara Dwairi helps with logistics through her connections, according to Dwairi.

The group chose art and design to reach their goals, due to the positive feedback they had received for projects they had worked on before establishing Osammem, Dwairi said, adding that they used art and design “to deliver their message widely in an attractive, simple and beautiful way”. 

“Art is an infinite open book. It allows me to embody deep meanings instead of writing a long post. We chose art to make people feel its impact and existence around us,” said Khazaleh.

“Osammem’s message is that the sheer will of certain individuals enabled them to achieve major successes,” Khazaleh said in an interview with Jordan News, adding that the group wishes to make the initiative known by as many people as possible, “through social media since it is one of the most effective tools in this era”, especially during COVID-19.

Osammem in Arabic has two different meanings that embrace the goals of the initiative: one is determination, willing, and persistence, the other means design in Arabic.    

The group’s first project involved individuals with Down’s syndrome, “as the society is facing issues to embrace them”, Khazaleh said. Osammem wants to instill the idea that these people have rights and talents, she added. 

The group aims to shed light on other groups in the society as well, Dwairi said, as its members believe that it is their duty to empower marginalized groups.

“We chose people who are sometimes more creative than people without special needs. They are not disabled, they live in a society that hinders them,” Dwairi said.

Osammem believes it is important to correct some concepts society has, Dwairi said. Initiatives such as this can change how people think. For instance, shedding light on marginalized groups and empowering them was not as significant as it is today, she added.

Osammem differs from other initiatives through its ideas, style, and methods of delivering its message, which is done “without using many words and benefitting from the group’s talents,” Dwairi said.

Now, the group is looking for artists to deliver the stories of marginalized people through painting. For example, it collaborated with an artist to whom they told the story of Musab, an individual with Down’s syndrome, so she creatively delivered his story, Khazaleh said. 

Osammem links artists with marginalized groups, aiming to activate the role of art in society, she added.

One of the challenges has been reaching marginalized groups, as the group did not have the confidence to contact them. However, after the first project, people started to contact the group to share their stories. 

Time management and balancing study and Osammem activities is another challenge, especially as Khazaleh and Dwairi live in Mafraq, and the majority of Osammem activities took place so far in Irbid and Amman. 

Getting approvals to place their posters in public places was also challenging, Dwairi said.

“It was hard to introduce ourselves as we are not related to any organization, we are individuals who want to bring about change,” Khazaleh said.

The group aims to have the ability to contact different artists and expand their activities by collaborating with them, she added. 

Dwairi added that the initiative plans to shed light on people who have been subjected to violence yet regained their strength, to show that despite what they have been through, they can reach their goals and be useful to their society. 

“Also, people who suffer from serious diseases and did not give up but found ways to be creative,” Dwairi emphasized.

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