The Palestinian Children Relief Fund (PCRF) is an noble organization working for a noble cause. Think of the innocent bystander of any war or conflict and you will immediately think of children. The PCRF, working through its many chapters throughout the US and the Arab world, takes critical cases of children injured in war zones and provides medical care. Due to the time of recovery of the injured children, many miss months and years of school. Their only hope for an independent future is education, as many suffer permanent injuries, like amputations. The PCRF is now taking on their noble cause one step further by setting up a fund to provide special tutoring for children who have been injured to get them back into school and to ensure that they do not incur compound losses in their health and also their education. If you would like to contribute or start a funding campaign, here is the link. Make sore to re-tweet, re-post and spread the word. For the children who are hungry for learning!
On January 17, 2014, for the first time in history, three injured Arab children will climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, to raise awareness and support for the plight of injured and sick children in Palestine and Syria.
Mohammed, Mutussam and Yasmeen have all lost their limbs during their childhood and were treated abroad through the support of hundreds of volunteers in the PCRF. These injured teens are now training hard to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro with a team of volunteers led by Suzanne Al-Houby, the first Arab & Palestinian woman to summit Everest and to reach the top of Kilimanjaro six times.
The Palestine Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF) is a non-political, non-profit organization dedicated to healing the wounds of war, occupation and poverty for children in the Middle East. They have done amazing work sponsoring wounded children who need medical attention, finding a host home, and providing the medical attention needed. They have many chapters through out the United States and also in the UAE, Qatar and Jordan. If you would like to support the children in the Climb of Hope and show them that they can pass the Kilimanjaro challenge despite their injury, you can do so HERE.
Last year I went on my first service trip. After volunteering with Reach Out To Asia (ROTA), I registered to go on a volunteer trip to Indonesia. On my first meeting with the group of volunteered I was amazed at the diversity of the group: gender, nationality, age, interest, religion, culture… all of it. Just the nationalities alone can give you an idea. We were a group of 25 people and we had members from Egypt, Palestine, Sudan, England, India, Fiji, Lebanon, France, Malaysia, Yemen, Syria, Greece and Qatar. That is 13 different nationalities in a group of 25 people! And they were a lovely group of people. Now, a year later after the trip, we still keep in contact and made some very good friendships.
We went through one month of weekly preparations for the trip. We were going to a school that was re-built in 2007 after the tsunami that hit Asia in 2005. The school was rebuilt and renovated by Qatar Foundation and ROTA. Our group was went to work with middle school kids on topics that were chosen by the school. The topics were: English, Computer Skills, Music, Sports, Environment, and Life Skills. Although I am a techie, I chose to be in the Music group as there was high interest in the Computer group, and I have interest in music myself. We flew from Doha, Qatar to Jakarta, Indonesia and then took a domestic flight to Jogjakarta where we stayed. Every morning we went on a one hour bus drive to the school. The school teachers, students and administrators treated us with big smiles and utmost generosity and politeness. It was easy to communicate not because we spoke the same language but because they are very smart and they can use sign language very efficiently :). Some of the students speak good English. One of them actually spoke very fluently. She was not in my class, she was a year younger. I asked her once, what do you want to be when you grow up, and she said a lecturer at the university. I have no doubt that this girl can achieve her dream because she has the stamina, the drive, and the . However, I wonder if life will get in the way and she will find that she needs to give up her dream to deal with life’s realities. On the last day of school, she was crying to see us leave. The kids think of us as super heroes who can change their lives. What they don’t know, is that they have changed ours. This was from the press release about the trip http://thepeninsulaqatar.com/qatar/211755-rota-volunteers-take-part-in-reflection-event.html:
“This was my first volunteer experience with Rota and I already look forward to more volunteer activities. The trip organisation was great and the team was amazing. The best part was getting to know the people and the culture of Indonesia and to work with the students. As much as we hope to have made an impact, they have certainly touched our lives and our hearts. I can still see their smiles, their tears and hear their little voices and big dreams. This was truly a memorable experience”
It’s been a long time since I visited… I went through pictures from my visits to Syria and made this video… Not too artistic, I know and probably seems like I am sticking my head in the sand but I wanted to see something different than what we’ve been seeing everyday over the past year and half. The pictures are random pictures taken walking through Damascus and driving through Syria. The music is for the talented Malek Jandali – Piano Dream from Album Echos of Ugarit (Based on the oldest music notation in the world (Ugarit, Syria 3400 B.C.)