By Samman Raza 2016-2017, Pakistan, hosted by World Link in Colorado Springs, CO.
I am a YES alumna who went to America in 2016 and came back in 2017. I did many volunteer projects during my exchange year.
In March, I decided to do project for refugee aid for Global Youth Service Day (GYSD). At that time I heard about the miserable conditions of refugees from different countries so I decided to help the refugees in my state of Colorado. There were refugees from Pakistan, Africa, Egypt and many other countries. I really wanted to help those people and my host organization asked students to do a GYSD project. Through social media I came to know more about the living circumstances of refugees in Colorado. I contacted the Lutheran Family services and asked them what donations the refugees needed most- they told me that what they needed most was hygiene products.
Together with my host parents and sociology teacher, I start working on this project. I hung posters on the walls of my high school and asked for donations. Every day after class I would ask for donations. I also started spreading the word on facebook. I collected shampoo, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, conditioners, shaving kits, combs, pads, body lotion, sanitizer, mouthwash, hair ties and face lotion. In no time, I had successfully collected $312 dollars and more than 1,100 hygiene products for the refugees.
After collecting all the donations, I visited the Lutheran Family Service with my family and handed all the donations over to them. I met some of the refugee families and we talked about how they were sad to leave their homeland but also happy to find a safe place to live.
Due to my efforts, the chief of education of my district in Colorado Springs called me as a guest and awarded me with a plaque. I delivered an honorable speech on my experience of helping refugees.
On April 17, 2017 I won from approximately 80 projects with 9 other students because of my project and received a certificate from American Councils.I am so glad to help those deserving people and make a little difference!
After returning from my exchange year I have been involved in many projects but I am still thinking of how to help refugees on a larger scale. I am currently studying pre-med in college and am also doing other projects while continuing my studies.
It is my passion to do work for the humanity and create an organization for refugees, uneducated women and children.