Uprisings against corrupt governments across the Middle East began around 2011, and led to what is known as the Arab Spring (NPR, 2011). Most countries had at least moderate success displacing their respective governments. Syria, however, is where the conflict has escalated and where there seems to be no end in sight. The main groups involved are Assad’s Syrian government, backed by Iran, Hezbollah, and Russia, and the Syrian Coalition backed by the US, Britain, France, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia (New York Times, 2015). This is not to say that any of these countries have exactly the same goals in mind, but there is enough overlap to loosely classify it this way. Further complications stem from secularist and Islamist divisions, as well as ethnic differences and interests (Mercy Corps, 2016). While Syria is at the heart of this current crisis, it is far from the only country affected. Refugees are fleeing from many neighboring countries, including Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Horn of Africa (BBC News, 2015). Syrians specifically are fleeing to Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey, and many European countries (Mercy, 2016). The crisis in Syria is the worst humanitarian crisis of our time according to Mercy Corps (Mercy, 2016). The World Health Organization (WHO) has made an appeal to end suffering in Syria. In their appeal, they remind us all that “more than ever before, the world needs to hear a collective public voice calling for an end to this outrage. Because this conflict and its consequences touch us all” (WHO, 2015).
Crytallyn Steed Brown, one of our board members, has spent months engaged volunteering at various refugee camps in Europe and can speak to the dire need of compassionate volunteers. She is currently on the ground in Lesvos, Greece, working to coordinate efforts for Mercy Worldwide Trust as well as our own. We hope to send as many volunteers as we can recruit, and that is the principle way in which you can help us – by coming along. If you yourself are unable to travel, you can consider a donation to sponsor some of our volunteers. Doing so will ensure that that many more compassionate and capable volunteers are in the midst of those who need them. Aside from this, you can give presentations of our efforts to your schools, clubs, companies, etc (We have power points available to help you in this). You could organize a drive to collect needed supplies (see upcoming post about which supplies are needed) and of course you could share these posts with as many as you can via your social media.
If you wish to volunteer with us, it will cost $3,000 in order to get you there, housed comfortably in a nearby hotel, and fed for the roughly 10 day expedition. We are hoping to go as early as March 20, and no later than April 10. So far, our volunteer pool is flexible and we will journey when it suits the majority of our group. Each day, for as many hours as you have energy to work, you will be engaged in distributing food, clothing, tents, blankets, first aid, hygiene kits and other supplies. You will help clean beaches, receive refugees from passenger boats, build shelters, sort supplies, transport goods, and provide comfort in anyway you can to the families whose lives have been uprooted or torn apart by war and violence. Sometimes this means simply holding a child in your arms while their parents sleep, or playing soccer with refugees in order to buoy their spirits and distract them from the horror of their situation. When it becomes too much to handle, you can mentally check out by secluding yourself in a warehouse where sorting and organizing is desperately needed. Ten days may not seem like much, but in the 100 + hours you can spend in the service of your fellow men, you will not come away the same person.
If you want to volunteer, you must be 18 years of age (in most cases) and have a valid passport. Beyond this, you must be able to cope with high stress, dynamic, and heart-wrenching situations. Contact our president at firstname.lastname@example.org or find us on FB to sign on. Thank you all very, very much.
BBC News. Web accessed Feb 1, 2016.
Mercy Corps. Web accessed Feb 1, 2016.
NPR. Web accessed Feb 1, 2016.
New York Times. Web accessed Feb 1, 2016 .