CREDIT: KHALID ALBAIH
When I think about the refugee crisis, I undoubtedly think about Aylan Kurdi, Omran Daqneesh, and all of the children and families affected by the Syrian War, and similar wars like it.
To this day, I can’t get the horrific image of Aylan out of my mind. He was the three-year-old toddler that fled the Syrian Civil War with his family. Tragically, he drowned before making it to safety. The image of his little body resting on the shores of a Turkish beach was shared around the world, and forced many of us to pay attention.
Then there is the image of Omran, the five-year-old Syrian boy that was injured by a bomb strike. Later, a photograph was captured of him sitting in the back of an ambulance, dazed and bloodied, as he awaited help.
These are but two of the millions of horrific stories of individuals caught victim to the refugee crisis. For me, even one story like this is too many to fathom.
While I do not personally understand or purport to be an expert on the Syrian Refugee Crisis, I do know one thing - this is no life for any child or any human-being.
For years, I have worked with students, educators, community members, and elected officials to address humanitarian issues both domestically and abroad. Yet, months after seeing these piercing images, I didn’t know what I could do. I felt powerless. It wasn’t until I met Chris and Alison, with Rebuild for Peace that I found myself empowered to do something tangible.
Rebuild for Peace is a non-profit organization that works tirelessly to rebuild lives, communities, and peace around the world, through vocational training and peace-building. They recently launched their first program in Jordan to train at-risk and refugee youth impacted by the Country’s economic instability and unemployment. Along with the Jordanian government and local community leaders, Chris and Alison have successfully trained over 180 participants in sewing, cosmetology, and carpentry - tangible and useful skills needed to uplift communities.
What’s more, their training programs instill a sense of identity through entrepreneurship initiatives and support. Many of these youth are targets for extremist causes in violence-prone areas. With the support of Rebuild for Peace, these youth have an alternative outlet and greater sense of identity.
Seeing such an impact so quickly gives me a renewed sense of feeling like I could make an impact, and an eagerness to help out however I can. For me, this means spreading the word about their work, and helping Rebuild for Peace raise funds so that they can sustain their efforts in Jordan, and expand their work in the U.S. and around the world.
Despite feeling powerless about the lives we’ve lost to the Refugee Crisis thus far, there is still time to do something about it. Join me now, and support Rebuild for Peace by contributing to their efforts, or becoming an Ambassador on their behalf.
Let’s come together to rebuild lives, communities, and peace.
Gabriel Arteaga is the CEO and CoFounder of Create&, a firm that crowdsources big ideas for nonprofits and startups, through community design sprints, customized fundraising, and business strategy. You can read more about his background here, and connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.
Full disclosure: Gabe and Create& are currently helping Rebuild for Peace launch their big idea by building empathy for our supporters, and raising funds to support our programs.