QF students step out to help people in need
03 May 2017 - 0:11
Several student volunteers at Qatar Foundation have stepped out of comfort zones for humanitarian work and help people in need.
Among them Fahad Al Musalmani and Shakeeb Asrar have worked as volunteers early this year in Greece with displaced refugees. One of the first things they realised when started working with refugees, was how similar they were to the people they were trying to help.
“I met two young men from Syria who were university students but had to abandon their studies suddenly and leave their family homes. They were the same age as me, and similar in background,” said Asrar, a senior at Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q). “When you connect personally with refugees from war-torn countries and learn their stories, you quickly realise how alike we are, and also how complex the refugee crisis is.” Asrar and Al Musalmani, a senior at Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q), spent 15 days working with refugees through NGOs in Athens after they were selected to participate in the Learners’ Voice program, organised by the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE), a QF initiative.
Both students were challenged to break new ground in designing programs to provide innovative education and support structures for refugees in the areas of education and other fields of civic integration. Al Musalmani worked hands-on with refugees through the Organisation Earth NGO, writing CVs and translating from Arabic to English, while Asrar taught basic computing and worked as a translator and interpreter with Khora Community Center in Athens, helping refugees make their case in the asylum seeking process.
While, long-term Qatari volunteer and QF alumna Muneera Al Shriem, says volunteerism for young people can serve as a vital tool to help them discover who they really are, while making a valuable contribution to society. “Volunteering is hugely valuable. You will gain a great new skills and find out so much about yourself that you never thought of before. You will then be able to share what you’ve learned with so many more people, it’s a true gift,” said Al Shriem, a graduate of Texas A&M University at Qatar. She has been volunteering since she joined QF in 2005. As a student on Academic Bridge Program one of her first volunteer endeavours was to help raise money for a tsunami relief project. She later joined Reach Out To Asia and worked on projects teaching English to migrant workers in Qatar, and helping to renovate houses for people in need in Qatar.
Today, working full-time with the United Development Company in Doha, Al Shriem sits on the Youth Advisory Board of Rota. Al Musalmani and Asrar hope to emulate Al Shriem’s long-term spirit of volunteerism as they continue to develop their projects within the WISE Learners’ Voice program.