By Mark O’Brien
Impunity Watch Reporter, North America
WASHINGTON, United States — Two dozen middle school students in western New York State recently held a unique event to raise awareness about the humanitarian crisis in Syria.
The 25 students from Springville Middle School, about 35 miles south of Buffalo, held a “Sleepover for Syria” to simulate the refugee experience. That included sleeping under a tarp supported only by four chairs and a sleeping bag without extensive air mattresses or pillows to use.
“Not all life is fair or perfect,” one student said in reflection of the 17-hour experience. “Not everyone has it as good or as worse as you.”
Every participating student raised at least $25 in pledges that were donated to the International Rescue Committee’s Syrian Relief Fund. All told, the students raised $500 for Syrian refugee relief.
“Refugees have it hard due to sickness, lack of food/water, and protection,” reflected another student. “That’s all chance. It could have been any of us starving or dying.”
During the program, the students had conversations via Skype with ABC News reporter Lara Setrakian from Dubai, as well as humanitarian Jordan Hattar from outside the refugee camps in the country of Jordan. Setrakian also leads a worldwide effort called “Syria Deeply,” which aims to give people a new way to understand and engage in the crisis.
Students said the experience was eye-opening for them and made them more appreciative of their own lives.
“It is so important not to take anything for granted and, most importantly, connect on a human-to-human level with the refugees,” said one student.
For further information, please see:
Tumblr — IAmSyria — 16 November 2012
Springville Students for Human Rights — Sleepover for Syria — 15 November 2012
ABC Medianet — Lara Setrakian biography — 2012
Syria Deeply — Syria Deeply — 2012