A day with the refugees

By Maryam Spahic

GOMBAK, 28 March 2016: Kauthar, a single mother of six, along with her children of age ranging from 18 to 2 years old, came to Malaysia just five months ago. They left war-torn Syria and made their journey to Jordan, then Sudan, and finally Malaysia. She knows almost zero English, and her kids could speak only a few basic sentences in the language. She wants nothing but for her children to feel safe and happy wherever they are.

Ummul Qura Society, in collaboration with Life Makers Malaysia Society, had organised “A Day with the Refugees” at the International Islamic University Malaysia on Sunday (26 March) which was attended by around 30 refugees and teachers from the Languages Classes for Refugees.

The refugees, comprised of individuals from as young as 2 years of age to mothers and grandmothers, came from several countries such as Syria, Iraq and Sudan.

It was a very fulfilling day for both the volunteers and the refugees as they engaged in many fun-filled activities throughout the day. The refugees were divided into three age groups where several volunteers were assigned to facilitate the activities.

“We purposely came up with activities that required them to communicate with one another, and we made it compulsory for each of them to speak in English. For those who know no English at all, we tried teaching them the essential communication sentences and words,” said Moustafa Sano who is the Vice President of Life Makers Malaysia.

One of the participants, Noor, 19, from Syria expressed her excitement when she met a Turkish during the programme where she had a chance to practise her Turkish language skills that she had been self-studying.

Her sister, Ruaa, 17, who is an advanced Korean language student, cannot wait to return to meet the Korean students of IIUM to put her knowledge to test.

Volunteers of the programme confessed that despite the hot weather and tiring day, it was absolutely worth it. Some participants teared up upon farewell while others instantly kept in touch with the volunteers on social media.

“I would like to thank Life Makers for this great opportunity of letting us be part of this programme and also sharing the ajr (rewards); to cheer them up and see them smiling, we consider that a reward for all the hard work we did,” said Waeil Kadah, the President of Ummul Qura Society.***

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