I felt my heart become very heavy as I stared at the father’s prosthetic leg while he told of how he stepped on a landmine in Burma (Myanmar). This was one of many traumatic experiences this family had gone through before arriving here in the United States, and all were were more than I could have ever conceived before meeting them. What I found to be most inspiring was, though, the oppression they had experienced was dark and they still managed to be filled with light.
Instead of feeling out of place and far from home as I sat barefoot on the floor of their humble apartment, eating a foreign meal on a colorful rattan rug, and listening to the children interpret in English what their their parents were saying in Karen, I was in awe with this family who invited us over for a traditional Burmese dinner they had prepared just for us. They had become my family and my home.
In fact, the entire six months of my mission I was able to serve the Burmese refugees in Salt Lake City, Utah, I was amazed by how much I was actually served by them. I had heard so many stories of homes being burned to the ground, mothers, fathers, and children being killed in front of their loved ones, and their flee to the mountains to cross the Thai border to safety. They had lost so much, yet they gave much more.
Towards the end of my time there, my heart was exploding with love for the Burmese refugees. I didn’t know I could love a people and culture so much and I knew then I was there for a reason. I wanted to tell everyone about them. I wanted others to feel what I had felt when I was with them. And I wanted to give them the world. They deserve everything good our society has to offer.
I tried to make small efforts to raise awareness and give others opportunities to serve refugees locally and across the world.
My roommates and I found a family that lived close by who arrived from Haiti via asylum, who we absolutely adored. We tutored them in English before their children started up school. We actually had more fun with them than anything else.
Some time later, I helped begin a program called Refugee at my university to give students meaningful refugee service opportunities.
After graduating, I interned with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and New Page Human Rights to assist in planning fundraisers to raise money for programs they have in place to give refugees vocational skills and be successful here.
Rebuild for Peace finally came into the picture, and as I started hearing of all the good they were doing in Jordan and the huge strides they had made in the short time they had become established. I was drawn to their mission and desired to be a part of it in some way. I knew this was a nonprofit that was truly doing good as they work tirelessly and directly with the refugee population and at-risk youth in Jordan. I wanted to help rebuild peace in my own way, so I decided to organize a benefit concert in my backyard to raise money for their organization. It was so touching to see how so many were willing to help because of RFP’s cause to help the refugees and at-risk youth in Jordan. All the bands didn’t hesitate to jump on the bandwagon and volunteer their time to give everyone a good time and good music to listen to. And although donations were not mandatory to enter, all attendees gave of their means to support RFP’s cause.
We were able to provide enough funds for seven youth in Jordan to receive an education and graduate with the skills to help rebuild their community. Learning that we helped to improve the individual lives of seven people we have never met before, but who we still love, really enriched our experience we had with RFP. I plan to continue working with this amazing nonprofit, because the contribution they make is real and will have long-lasting and sustaining effects.
I hope to continue to help Rebuild for Peace as it continues to grow and touch the lives of the precious individuals they get to serve. It is my belief that we should always be looking for ways to improve the world we live in, and Rebuild for Peace is the perfect catalyst to help us do so.
TAGS: #WhyRFP #GivingTuesday
Candice is a Ambassador with Rebuild for Peace and has hosted an event on our behalf in Provo, Utah, to help raise funds and awareness for our training centers.
We are currently in the process of raising funds for #GivingTuesday (Nov. 28, 2017) and throughout the end-of-the-year. Every contribution that we receive we use to ensure that we are providing quality vocational education and entrepreneurial skills that help under served communities feel empowered to help provide for themselves and their families.
Make your donation today by visiting our website: https://www.rebuildforpeace.org/jordan-program.