Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, YES alumni have found creative ways to still serve their community. Farah AlKafaween initiated a campaign to provide essentials to Syrian refugees living in Mafraq, a city in northern Jordan. Farah shares, "Ever since I started working with refugees five years ago, I saw how hard they are trying to just get by, and sometimes they can't. Yet they never give up. This was like a trigger for us (YES alumni) to keep their needs in mind.” Fellow YES alumnus Taj AlRejjal helped Farah collect these donations in partnership with several organizations including the AlSalam Help Foundation, Lions Club, and Human Doctors Project. 13 other YES alumni anonymously donated to help Farah and Taj carry out this campaign.
This project was divided into two phases - one in the winter, and the second during Ramadan. In the winter, Farah and Taj collected enough donations to provide 202 Syrian families in refugees camps with heaters, firewood, water, and bread. Farah and Taj were able to provide these supplies right before the cold weather hit Jordan in February.
Ramadan is a time when YES alumni typically organize extra community service projects such as iftar gatherings.Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Farah decided to distribute food packages instead. Farah explains, “We chose Ramadan packages because it means that they (refugee families) can eat for at least one month. I really wish our help could last longer. The reactions, smiles, and thank you messages that we received me tear up, because something we consider small, they literally see as everything.” Taj adds, “Every year we usually host the Flying Doctors of America for a medical mission for Syrian refugees and underprivileged Jordanian families. Unfortunately, they couldn’t come this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So, we decided that if we couldn’t serve medically, we can still find a way to do our part.”
The YES alumni collected enough donations to assemble food packages for 205 Syrian families. Additionally, Taj collected clothing donations for children. The total worth of the donations collected was 6,448 Jordanian Dirhams, which is about 9,000 USD.
Taj reflects, “Every community service project is special in its own way, but we felt that the people we are helping in our project have no one else besides us, and they are the most needy population in Jordan." YES alumni always do their best to assess their community’s needs and find ways to help!
Read about another service project the YES alumni in Jordan held for refugees here.
Farah Alkafaween (YES 2008 - 2009, Jordan, placed with AYUSA in Finley, WA)
Taj AlRejjal (YES 2010-2011, Jordan, placed with YFU in Port Angeles, WA)