Willow Creek in Za'atari: Part 3

As a pleasantly warm room full of smiling Zumba-ers took a break, the instructor asked us how we felt. 

Two feelings instantly came to mind and I shouted them out: Alive and Together.

We don't share a language, but the common appearance of flushed cheeks and big grins told me that we all felt the same. Our mutual feminine humanity, despite the mixture of culture or faith, effervesced via fast heart beats and a Latin dance beat.

Looking back, it occurs to me that Alive and Together best reflect my entire day at Questscope in...MORE

Willow Creek in Za'atari: Part 2

After spending a day with Questscope staff and volunteers, my entire perception of refugees has shifted. I left in awe of the joy, love and consideration I experienced and observed.

I think Western news often asks us to believe that refugees are under-resourced, under-skilled people who are living in hopeless and dark situations. It was beautiful to see the opposite at Questscope. The people I met were passionate teachers, talented artists, and hopeful souls that welcomed me with open arms. 

I remember my...MORE

The Big Girl Who Can't Read

Rahaf fled Aleppo with her family when missiles started crashing into their neighborhood.

They now share space with others in a communal shelter near Aleppo. Crowded, chaotic, crammed together.

She attends a temporary school there. Due to a learning disability, she is older than the grade level she is in. For other students, she is “the big girl who can’t read.”  It was very hard for 14-year old Rahaf when others made fun of her.  

Making friends was very hard, too. Teen girls, especially in the...MORE

Willow Creek in Za'atari: Part 1

We were five days in to a nine-day trip when we pulled up to the guard post at Za’atari camp in northern Jordan. We’d seen the news stories and heard the statistics: There are 79,000 people living as refugees in temporary housing while they wait for the war to end in Syria or for UN refugee resettlement and placement.

In a place where I was expecting to find hopelessness and defeat, there is indeed unimaginable pain.

But it was at Za’atari, where I learned about how people living as refugees are also living as real-life heroes, as they create the world of...MORE

A Teenager, a Little Baby, and a Big Second Chance

Bayan is 14 and attends alternative education classes in Madaba, Jordan. She really enjoys math and the games she plays to learn mathematical concepts. And her new friends at the alternative education center help her to learn – while they help her take care of her baby girl in the class.

Her baby girl?

Bayan dropped out of school when she was forced into an early marriage. Now she lives in a tent with her unemployed husband and works on a farm for $14 a day as an agricultural laborer.

Talk about having...MORE

Finding Refuge at Midnight

Last week – just after midnight – 1,500 people finally found refuge after surviving more than two years of siege. 

They traveled for days in crowded buses after they left their besieged villages. They survived a suicide bombing attack. And they arrived at our collective shelters in the middle of the night - women and children - physically and emotionally exhausted. They kept moving in hope they would find safety at the end of that journey.  

And when they arrived, our Syria team was there – ready and able to provide shelter and assistance.

...MORE

Former USAID Official to Join Questscope

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 13, 2017 

Former USAID Official to Join Social Change Organization Questscope
Mark Brinkmoeller, former Director of the Center for Faith Based and Community Initiatives at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), will join Questscope as US Director

Contact: Rachel Stone, Questscope, 612-607-6476; rachelstone@questscope.org

Washington, D.C. – Mark Brinkmoeller, former USAID Official, has...MORE

Meet Udara

We've been working on a new project for months, and we're so excited to finally share it with you. With division and conflict all around us, we wanted to find a way to come together and care for each other as best we can.  

Along with four other organizations taking action for Syrians, we're partnering with Udara. It's an interactive mobile application that shows you ways to help based on your talents and interests.

...MORE

Update: Emergency Response in Syria

Overview

In late December, we sent out an urgent request for help evacuating families from Aleppo and the surrounding villages. After the front lines collapsed and the fighting ended, nearly 100,000 people were on the move from places that had been bombed and shelled. 

In the villages of Al-Foua’a and Driya, thousands of women and children were evacuated to safety in Homs after living under siege for nearly three years. 

They left with nothing and needed everything. You answered our call for help and raised almost $100,000 ‒ twice our...MORE

Beauty in the Beastliness of War

Magic. Refugee camp. Poetry. Youth. A library.

What?! A library for refugees in a refugee camp? Poetry and writing workshops in that library? What's going on here? Backstory coming up.

Amjad's life crashed in the early days of the Syrian conflict. Violence. Hatred. Deep emotional wounds in a 20-something young man. Escape to a refugee camp. "I didn't know what a refugee was. I was a university student, not a refugee – whatever that was."

"When I came to the camp I felt that my spirit was being broken – just like so many youth around me....MORE

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