It is equally disheartening and disappointing that it took the world such a long time to open their hearts and eyes to the hurting Syrian population. Thousands have been massacred in the past few years and millions are displaced with no one to speak up about the injustice, yet the irony of it all is it only took the death of one innocent little boy to shake the world’s silence.
As I embarked on my journey to Amman this summer with what I did not know was that one in 13 people in Jordan is a Syrian refugee. Jordan, although scarce in resources as a country, has been more hospitable than others in welcoming Syrian refugees. However due to its lack of funding, camps such as Za’atari are mainly compromised of pitched tents often with lack of access to clean water. These camps, unlike the Palestinian ones, are strictly off limits to all civilians. In fact, there is a barbed wire around the camp to make sure no one gets in, nor do they get out. We were not allowed to visit the Syrian Refugee camps, however we were given the honor to spend a day at a makeshift school for young Syrian children within Amman.
On a hot July afternoon, we arrived at Al Amal School- The School of Hope, ready with dozens of boxes of Legos. We planned to engage in a workshop encouraging kids to build the changes they want to see in Syria when they return. What we got as a response was amazing.
These kids have been through so much at such a young age. We were told many of them had lost their fathers in the bloodshed, as well as siblings and other family members. They had relocated to Amman but in the process their education had been neglected. The Principal of this makeshift school, which is actually just her house of 5 bedrooms, said her heart hurt as she watched Jordanian kids grab their backpacks and head off to school while the children in her community stayed behind. She now runs a “re-education center” where kids of all ages come and attempt to relearn what they once knew, and try to further their education. There is no grade system and you could see kids ranging from all ages learning the basic once again. It is amazing how much they do with their limited resources.
For the rest of my life, I will remember this day as the most fulfilling day I have spent on this Earth. The joy in the eyes of these kids just from receiving a couple toys and hours of friendship touched my heart. It was an afternoon I will never be able to forget.
But the sad reality is there are innumerable more kids just like them still out there looking for refuge. It may often feel like there is so little we can do to help people that are across the world, but that is not the case! Helping those in need goes much beyond making a donation. Spreading the word, spreading compassion, sending prayers and getting involved is far more than enough. After all this isn’t a Middle Eastern crisis, nor a European crisis. This is a global crisis.
** If you would like to read up more on the subject, here are some simple & credible sources to follow and understand what sparked this crisis**
** If you would like to make a donation, the following links will connect you to some great non-profits**
Save The Children:
**If you would like to get involved in helping refugees in the San Diego area please look out for our club called Refugee Connections, that will be taking off this fall**
**And if you would like to engage in worldly issues please look in to UCSD’s new club UCSD Students for Global Health **