Time Out Kids’ very own Magic Phil has recently been on a charitable mission to bring cheer to children in Jordan. We find out more about it.
Magic Phil’s gigs include performing at some of the most high-profile kid’s birthday parties in Dubai, as well as, of course, Time Out Kids’ storytime. However, the last show the 24-year-old performed was a bit different – it took place in Al Azraq refugee camp in Amman, Jordan where he performed tricks and jokes for hundreds of orphans who were delighted to see him. We caught up with him after the trip.
What did you do on your trip?
‘My first show was performed on Friday April 10 at The Princess Haya Centre in Amman. We invited and performed to three different orphanages that day and gave out our donated gifts from companies in Dubai and Jordan.
‘On the Saturday, we went to Al Azraq refugee camp. Care International drove us there, and before we went in, the car stopped at the top of a hill above the camp. All we could see was a city of small tin huts. It was an overwhelming sight! When we arrived at the reception centre, children crowded round us wanting to hold our hands, give high fives and cuddles. It was a very emotional experience.
‘I performed my show three times though the day at Al Azraq and I’m told 900 children got to see the shows. At every show the children were really responsive. They laughed and clapped and shouted and screamed, which is just the reaction I wanted. We were worried that communication might be a problem, so I had scripted the show to be very visual and colourful and I had learnt a few prompt words in Arabic.
‘On Monday I appeared on Roya TV and spoke about my experience in the camp. Finally on Tuesday, we were invited to perform for another orphanage. This was unplanned but I was more than happy to attend the event hosted by Pretend Couture.’
Do you feel like it was worth it?
‘Compared to the work that others are doing, like the Care International staff, who are doing such amazing work in the area, what I’ve done is very small, but if I’ve made those children happy for a short time, then it was definitely worthwhile.’
What made you want to get involved?
‘I’ve been wanting to do something like this for a very long time. I’m already aware in Dubai that there are people who can’t afford to pay to see my show and so I make regular free public appearances. It all started after an event I was hosting in Dubai. I saw a costume shop and as I was looking for costumes for my next pantomime, I got talking to the Jordanian lady who ran the shop, Razan. She explained that the costumes are all handmade in Jordan and sent over to Dubai. After my pantomime, my business support, Jean, and I started helping Razan collect warm blankets and clothes for all the refugee children. It then occurred to me that there was maybe something more I could do.
Have you had support from the Dubai community in arranging this trip?
The response has been overwhelming, Fly Dubai donated our flights, we also had so many big companies in Dubai and Jordan wanting to donate gifts such as caps, t-shirts, games, teddy bears and so much more! A special thanks to Virgin Megastore who donated thousands of dirhams worth of gifts!
‘Razan has family and contacts in Jordan and we used these and our Dubai contacts to generate support for the mission. None of this would have been possible without the individuals and companies that supported us with this mission. So a big thank you to all our donators! A full list of donators can be viewed on my social media, but a special mention must be made to Jean for her continuous business support and hard work, as well as Hannah, Razan, Lubna and her family, plus all the staff at CARE. You are all amazing!
Do you have any plans to go back to Jordan?
It was a very humbling experience and we have made a promise to the staff at the camp that we would share this experience and yes we would most definitely return. I have certainly been inspired to do more and can build on what we’ve learnt doing this one.
What’s next for Magic Phil?
Well it’s that time of year again when all preparations are underway for this year’s pantomime. After two shows last November, we’re back this year with a ‘Genie-us’ new pantomime, ‘Magic Phil and his Arabian Desert Mix Up’. This show will take you on a magical carpet ride through the Arabian Desert and that’s all I’m revealing!
Follow Magic Phil! Twitter: @1magicphil Instagram: @1MAGICPHIL Facebook: Magic Phil or through his charity blog, www.facebook/Magicphilscharity