March 8, 2022

Meet Safa Rofu: From a Curious Youngster Living Near Busayra’s Archeological Site to an Impressive Success Story

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Busayra is a town in Al-Tafilah Governorate in southern Jordan, approximately 200 km from Amman. From its archaeological site, Busayra has a beautiful panoramic view over valleys and hills. This site was the administrative and political capital of the kingdom of Edom between 800 and 500 BCE, toward the end of the Iron Age.

Safa Rofu and her team are a success story of a local women-led enterprise in Busayra. The story started when Safa was a youngster living near a historic archaeological site, which in turn made her curious to find out more about its history. Her passion led to the discovery of her fondness of archaeology, and her passion for this subject gave her the determination to seek a university education that eventually led to obtaining a master’s degree. Her work effort continued with the award of a USAID-funded grant with The American Center of Research in 2021 through its USAID-funded Sustainable Cultural Heritage Through Engagement of Local Communities Project (SCHEP).

Safa is one of those people who dream about telling the story of her hometown by creating a unique experience for those who visit the archaeological site. She engaged her community, especially women and youth, to promote her locality as an attractive destination with promotions and interactive programs.

To achieve her vision, Safa established the Busayra Cultural Heritage Foundation, whose headquarters occupy a restored abandoned house that was rehabilitated with financial and technical support from the American Center's grant. All programs introduced under the umbrella of this foundation serve locals and tourists alike.

Safa merged her efforts with the American Center's team to accomplish development of the historical site, leading community members in the project, creating touristic experiences, conducting partnerships, training students and supporting their ideas, and promoting her community’s cultural heritage.

Safa has always been dedicated to promoting Busyara’s narrative, encouraging visitation to it, and guiding her surrounding community to learn about their heritage, so that they can realize how rich are the stories that they have to tell and also that they have many attractive products to offer for sale. For its part, The American Center of Research believes in coaching its beneficiaries on principles of self-reliance and in educating them about how to sustain their projects over the long term.

You can visit the Busayra archaeological site to see first-hand all its newly created trails, shaded areas, interpretive panels, and murals. Also, you can stop at the Busayra Cultural Heritage Foundation to experience their diverse cultural hands-on activities, such as cooking traditional dishes, walking through well-developed nature trails, and forming clay objects.