The Brighter Side of A Refugee Camp: A Volunteering Story

I got my first real taste of charity work last week, when two of my friends and I completed a project called Leave a Mark, Lend a Smile | اترك بصمة، عيّدهم بسمة to buy Eid clothes for kids of a Syiran refugee camp in my village.

charity-boxes

Two years ago, in the midst of the Syrian war, this refugee camp was set up near my house. With 13 families and over 25 kids, the people there live in small, dark, stuffy tents. It is not a comfortable, nor is a decent, living style.

camp-syrian-refugees

After raising over $400 from 38 stores and shops in my hometown, we set out shopping. The money was used to buy undergarments and a pair of shoes for each of the kids, in addition to two shirts and pants for each boy; a dress, headband, and hat for each girl.

refugee-camp-collage

We arrived at the refugee camp as the people gathered around us while we called out names and handed each kid his/ her customized bag. The kids were beaming, and the parents thanked us and prayed God to protect and bless us.

syrian-refugee-camp-child

Giving and helping others in need makes one reevaluate and think his life through. Those people lack simple luxuries we take for granted because they seem normal. Standard. Familiar. I get to sleep on a comfortable mattress at night. I get to choose between several pairs of shoes each day, I have the luxury of making a sandwich on a clean countertop, or using a proper bathroom, and sitting around a table for lunch. It’s sad to think that those people had no choice but to leave their homes and their motherland to come live in tents. That those kids were forced to grow up in such harsh circumstances instead of proper schools and welcoming homes.

What struck really struck me the most as sad and unfair is that in a different time and different place, you wouldn’t be able to picture those people in an unpleasant refugee camp. The beautiful, green-eyed, blond girl, the kind-faced, white-bearded old man, the shaggy-haired, hyper little boy… They don’t belong there.

refugee-camp-kid-2

Witnessing the poor living conditions of the people in the refugee camp is sure to leave anyone feelings glum. And yet, after the completion of this project, I felt peaceful and happy. Maybe, just maybe, we were able to bring some joy to a rather joyless place. I suppose that is the effect helping others has on you.

I have volunteered before- teaching at summer camp or collecting money for different causes at school… but this project was different. Perhaps because we witnessed the development of what was first an idea, or maybe because we were there to see it go into effect.

refugee-camp-girl

It is possibly a selfish reason why you should get involved and help others in need, but volunteering brings you so much inner bliss and contentment. Just the thought that you are helping others and making a positive change is enough to motivate you.

I leave you with this quote by Ben Carson:

“Happiness doesn’t result from what we get, but from what we give.”

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15 comments

  1. Nikhil · October 14

    Those pictures say it all.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. breharne · September 22

    MashAllah sister you should be very proud of yourself this was a beautiful gift for these families.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sena · October 15

      Thank you so much; may Allah give those families the patience and strength to carry on.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. lovetotrav · July 29, 2015

    Your quote says it all and your actions do it justice. A worthy action that is meaningful for all. Well-done.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. jdawgswords · July 29, 2015

    Reblogged this on Jdawgswords and commented:

    this is the kinda things we can do to encourage peace making

    Liked by 1 person

  5. jdawgswords · July 29, 2015

    what a awesome post!!!! I would love to help but the things I want to do I can’t…I want to help THE REFUGEES not pay bills of some organization…I want these kids to have toys…(and I don’t even know what’s “legal” there…I don’t want to spread somebody’s gospel, etc…this is getting reblogged on WP and G+

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sena · July 29, 2015

      I know what you mean. These people live in such bad conditions, it’s sad when a group or organization tries to exploit efforts to help them.
      Thank you so much for taking the time to read and reblog this post!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. olettasemple · July 29, 2015

    Great story! I just visited a refugee camp in Tanzania and it was a life changing experience. Will blog about it soon.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sena · July 29, 2015

      Thank you! I look forward to read about your experience at the Tanzanian refugee camp. 🙂

      Like

  7. dray0308 · July 29, 2015

    Reblogged this on Dream Big, Dream Often and commented:

    Life Musings gives a great story of helping families, including 25 children, in a refugee camp near his home. I love this story!

    Liked by 2 people

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