On May 5, Sima Sweidat ‘17 organized a cycling fundraiser at Sports City in Amman to raise funds for a local animal shelter. 20 people participated in the bike ride, including eight YES alumni and 12 volunteers. Everyone who attended the fundraiser received a bike and made a donation to participate. The group cycled for about two hours, met new people, and spread awareness of the YES program to bystanders. Overall, the alumni collected about 100 JD (~141 USD).
The following weekend, eight alumni and three volunteers went to the AlRahmeh Animal Shelter in Zizia where they donated the money and spent the day volunteering at the shelter. AlRahmeh is an association dedicated towards animal welfare in Jordan. The shelter will use the funds raised to pay for food and maintenance costs.
The alumni played with, pet and fed the dogs. The shelter staff also gave the alumni a tour of the shelter and shared the difficult situations many of the dogs had faced. The dogs’ stories were heartbreaking and had a significant impact on the alumni. One particularly impactful story involved a dog that had been neglected for years by its owners, leading to its distrust towards any human interaction. Another dog had been shot and left deaf and blind from the trauma. The alumni found it particularly painful to note that most of the damage to the animals had been caused by humans.
From this experience, the alumni plan to share the stories of these animals with their families and friends. They believe that the first step to finding a solution for animal mistreatment is to spread awareness about the problem. Many of the alumni’s first interactions with dogs were during their exchange year, so they are passionate about promoting a more compassionate attitude towards dogs in their communities.
Sima Sweidat ‘17 said, “This event was a great way to bring back memories from our YES experience and at the same time raise money for an animal shelter.”
Sima Sweidat (YES 2016-2017, Jordan, placed by PAX in Westerville, OH)