By Yasmeen Fadila, YES 2015-2016, Israel (Arab Communities), hosted by PAX in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia
On March 10th, 2017, I led an event in Tira, Israel to raise awareness about Syrian refugees in Europe and to collect donations for them. I wanted others in my hometown to better understand the refugees by hearing about how they live, how they moved to Europe, and why they moved to Europe, so that they would be more open to helping the refugees. I believe that by each doing our part, we can help others and make peace in this world.
After a month and a half of planning the event with a partner organization in Tira, I was excited to get the evening started! I opened the event by talking to the audience about the importance of volunteering in general, and more specifically, helping Syrian refugees and other global refugees. We then had three special guest speakers, the first of whom was Firas, the founder of the Seeds of Humanity Organization. Seeds of Humanity (SHO) helps Syrian refugees in Europe, and Firas talked about the lives of the refugees they've helped, and showed videos and pictures of them. After that, Samer Mahamid, a volunteer with SHO, talked about his experience and the importance of volunteering. Finally, Dr. Khaled spoke about his experience and what he has done to treat refugees
I think the most impactful part of the evening was seeing the pictures of the refugees and watching a video of a refugee mother with her 4 kids, who talked about how hard their life has become.
The night was a huge success; over 120 people came, including businessmen and women, youth, and even members of Congress (Keenest). Not only that, but by the end of the night, we had raised about 2000 shekels (about $450 USD), which will go to Syrian refugees.
One of the main goals for this event was to remind people of humanity, which is something I learned more about from my time on the YES program. My YES experiences really helped me lead this event, especially the PAX leadership camp I went to in PA, where I learned how to be a good leader. I used each step I learned from that camp when I organized and led this event, and I am looking forward to using them again when I arrange more eves like this one to help refugees and other people in need in the future.