Young volunteers support UNRWA’s relief efforts for Palestine refugees

19 October 2012

19 October 2012
Syria

Hundreds of young people from Palestinian camps in Syria have joined UNRWA in a humanitarian effort to provide emergency food baskets to Palestine refugees in embattled parts of the country.

Last month, youth streamed into UNRWA’s central warehouse in Damascus to help to pack 10,000 food baskets with a combined value of USD 250,000, destined for Palestine refugee families in the northern camp of Aleppo and the Ramadan camp near Damascus.

The warehouse bustled as the hundreds of young men and women rolled up their sleeves re-packaging bags of rice, sugar, milk, oil, pulses, canned meat, halva, and pasta.

Twenty-three-year-old Rami Abu Saleh broke a sweat as he stacked box after box of food baskets. “No joy can equal the joy of serving others.

“I am thrilled to be part of this team to help Palestine refugees in the greatest need.”

Helping those in need

Hundreds like Rami decided to help out after hearing a call for help from UNRWA’s Engaging Youth project in Yarmouk, near Damascus. The response was warm and overwhelming.

The Engaging Youth programme offers employment opportunities and career advice to young Palestine refugees in Syria, who have often struggled to find jobs. It focuses on accompanying young people in the transition from school to work.

The volunteers for food packaging included the children of UNRWA staff members and students from the Agency’s Damascus training centre, which offers vocational training for young Palestine refugees in the area.

In recognition of their efforts, the young volunteers will have the opportunity to take part in UNRWA’s regular vocational and skills training.

“All our wonderful young volunteers gave up their time because they truly believe in helping Palestine refugees in need”, said one UNRWA staffer. He added that the volunteers’ hard work demonstrated their strong commitment and care towards their community.

“I feel fortunate to be part of this"

As well as providing essential help to vulnerable people in other parts of Syria, the food basket initiative also helps to encourage a culture of volunteering and community support among Palestine refugees in the country, said volunteer Heba ‘Ashmawi, 21.

“The purpose of life is to be useful and to make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate than we are.”

Fellow volunteer, 23-year-old Heba Abu Hamideh, said the team had worked hard.

”We just hope this modest contribution will help make life a little easier for the refugees who need our help.”

And Malek 25, stopped hauling bags of pulses to nod in agreement, saying "every volunteer here is really excited to be part of such a worthwhile cause”.

“I feel fortunate to be part of this."

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