Social Justice

Nov.18 My script for Searching For Home simulation, my contribution, and what I am going to tell my family

Hi how did the obstacle course and boat make you feel? Did it make you feel uncomfortable or angry? The reason you went through this is to show you a glimpse of what these children searching for safety have to go through. Imagine if you were 5, 6, 7, or 8 like your card says you are…would you be able to do this journey? You only experienced about 1% of what these children actually go through. There are around 2.5 million children who attempt this journey to seek safety. These children have to put their lives on the line because they do not feel safe at their home. They trusted smugglers who are strangers and might take all their money and leave them to die. There are so many instances on this journey that these children might not make it especially if they are all alone without their family. They can get robbed, beaten, and even raped. These children have to go through so much to feel safe again, they can’t even enjoy their childhood. I know for me when I was their age I was playing with dolls and watching movies with my family. These children do not get to do that. They can only bring with them what they can carry and a doll probably wasn’t a priority. If they did get to bring a doll or a toy they probably messed it up or lost it on the way. For example, do any of you have Aya on your identification card? Well Aya is an eight-year-old girl who has taken the journey to find safety. She is now living in a refugee camp with her family. She has an older sister with down syndrome and Aya helps watch her and helps take of her. Aya wants to go to school and become a doctor but right now she cannot go to school because she is in a refugee camp. Here is a video to show you what the journey was like for Aya and the other many children who have to embark on this dangerous journey.

While working on the Searching For Home simulation I worked really hard on making it educational and have people feel something when they left. When we first learned about the simulation project I did not think I was going to be as involved as I was. As a group, we started meeting in the library and talking about what we wanted the simulation to look like and what we wanted the people going through to learn and take away from it. Throughout the next couple meetings, I noticed that people were not showing up and doing their part. I felt that there was a lack of leadership so I decided to step up and start getting more involved. I helped make the lists of what we needed and how much we needed for the simulation. I went shopping for the supplies and made sure we got everything we needed. I also picked people to go to certain spots because they were not there to chose for themselves. At times it was hard to organize everything so it was clear but by the end, it came together and educated people about Syrian Refugees. Even though some of us did more than others at times the simulation did its job and taught people important information and told them how to help.

This Thanksgiving I realized how much I am thankful for. I am thankful for having a roof over my head and being able to live in my house and feel safe. I am not in constant fear of random bombings and gunfire. During Thanksgiving I want to educate my family on what I have learned about Syrian refugees and just refugees in general throughout these couple months I have had  at Cabrini. I came in knowing really nothing about refugees or the crisis happening right in front of me and that is how I feel a lot of people are like. I could bring it up in conversation and just let them know the struggles these refugees have to go through just to feel safe again. Hopefully, I get good responses from them and they will want to help spread the word as well.

Nov.3 My script as Journey Explainer

Syrian refugees both travel by land and sea to reach safety. Though they are trying to reach safety the things they have to do to get there are not safe at all. The refugees are mostly traveling by land during their journey. On the journey the refugees always have the risk of getting caught, robbed, abused, or killed. Most of the time when refugees leave Syria they are fleeing to the Turkish borders. There are an estimated 200,000 refugees living in Turkish camps along the Syrian border. When and if they are traveling by sea they have to cross the Mediterranean Sea which is so dangerous they call it the “journey of death” but take the journey anyway. The refugees pay smugglers most of their money to get them on a boat to cross the sea to Europe. The boats are usually over the capacity that they allow and the people on the boat are uncomfortable and crammed together. Also they have someone who has never been on a boat to navigate it. While they are all being pushed together they are also fighting harsh winds and water splashing on them. Many who take this course die at sea. The people who travel by boat can die of drowning because the boat capsized or they get asphyxiated by the fumes. This is just a few things that happen to the refugees on their journey to safety

Nov.1 War effects on children

  • Name: Aya
  • Age: 8
  • Description: Aya has already lost two years of education because of the conflict in Syria. She helps take care of her older sister with disabilities. They are staying in an informal settlement in Dalhmiyeh in the Bekka Valley, Lebanon.

The war effects children in so many different ways. These children would have witnessed things that I cannot imagine. They have seen their friends and family die right in front of them. Many children have been physically injured by bombings and sniper fire. The children have trouble sleeping, horrifying flashbacks, bed-wetting, and speech problems. The war gives children mental and physical trauma that no child should have to experience. There is a six-year-old boy living in Lebanon’s Bekka Valley who developed a stutter after surviving bombings. There is also a two-year-old girl who runs inside crying and covering her eyes whenever she hears planes coming the mother said. The distress put on the children by the war causes them to lose certain social skills. It is hard for the children who have experienced something in the war to interact with others.

The war in Syria is preventing the children from getting an education. These children have to go through so much already and now they can’t even get a good education. The UNHCR said “66 percent of the 80 children asked about education said they were not attending school.” Education is important for any society, and without education Syria is going to have an under-educated generation. If these children are lucky enough to get into school, there has been a recent World Bank report that said the drop-out rate of Syrian refugees was double the national rate of Lebanese children. School is good for the Syrian children because it helps them feel some type of normal in their life. They get a sense of routine and they can feel like a normal child again. Not all the teachers who are teaching Syrian refugee children are certified in teaching kids who experienced trauma within their life. Also some of the children have been out of school for months even years and they have lost their drive to go back. Some of the children had to work and some went to school during the day and worked during the night. A couple of the parents did not let their kids go to school and go to work instead.


Oct.25 more background about my area

  • Amal a Palestinian-Syrian refugee who is 28 and is traveling with her younger brother and children said the trip “was one of the hardest experiences, if not the hardest of all”
  • For the last five year’s Syrians have found plenty of ways to escape the war in their country
  • There are different reasons to why the refugees flee to where they choose to escape. Example for Amal she is a Palestinian-Syrian who would only get granted residency in Turkey.
  • Northern Aleppo, Idlib, and Larakia have easier access to Turkey
  • Syrian’s who trying to escape Damascus have to cross many active battle lines and go through a lot of government and armed opposition checkpoints before even reaching the border of Turkey

  • According to the head of the UN’s refugee agency one in every 122 people in the world are refugees seeking asylum because the “the world is a mess”
  • The most refugees and migrants arrived in Greece 68,000in Jan-Jun 2015 next was Italy with 67,500 then Spain with 1,230 and finally Malta 94
  • Germany received a ton of applications at the start of the year and expects to receive more than 800,00 refugees in 2015 (most from Syria)
  • There were 114 asylum seekers for every million people already living in the country in the first three months of this year.

  • People are leaving Syria because of the violence, 386,000 people have been killed and from that 14,000 were children
  • Another reason is children’s safety. They suffer so much through losing loved ones, injuries, missing school, and the violence happening around them
  • People are leaving because there is no education for their children, healthcare, and many of the buildings have been destroyed

Oct.18 My thoughts on how climate change affects the poor the most

Climate change is a massive problem facing our world today. Before reading and watching the videos about climate change I did not know anything about the subject. Heat waves are an effect of climate change and they cause many deaths. The people who are most affected by this are the poor. The poor do not have the luxury to have air conditioning to keep their bodies from overheating. Floods and droughts are very common nowadays as well due to climate change. The Smithsonian Magazine stated in 2011, twelve million people worldwide were affected by floods. For droughts, the magazine said, “New Zealand, for instance, lost more than $3 billion from 2007-2009 because of reduced farm output from drought.” Droughts can cause fires which have also been an effect of climate change. These extreme weathers have been detrimental to the crops and caused food shortages. While watching the video it explained why this is happening and what it is doing to the planet. I am glad I am learning about these things and why it is happening.

Oct.13 If I were with Enrique

Enrique had a long and strenuous journey over to the United States. If I had accompanied him on this journey I do not think I would have made it to America. Enrique showed how strong of a person he was because he had to make the trip more than once before he got into the country.
During the trip, Enrique endured horrible things that I know I could never endure in this lifetime. Throughout his journey, he was robbed and beaten badly. If that happened to me that would I do not know what I would do but I do not think I would continue on with the journey. Also, I would not be able to sleep because I would be so paranoid about everything and one around me. Just knowing that I cannot trust anyone around me will have me in a constant state of fear. Especially since the women who take this journey usually get raped, this would make me even more fearful.
Another thing that Enrique did has he spent his money on drugs to feed his addiction, I would not be able to spend the money I am using to bring me to my mother on drugs. This would also make it hard for us to budget our money after Enrique spends it on his addiction and after getting robbed as well.
After making such a long journey, we will surely be grateful for the little things in life. Enrique was already grateful for the little things because all he craved was the love of his mother. A couple of the little things that I would be grateful for is being able to take a shower and washing my clothes. I feel that if I made it to America I would become so much more religious because God has helped me through the hardest point in my life.
Throughout the journey, Enrique also met the nice people of Veracruz and Oaxaca who through bags and bundles of supplies to them. After thinking that there were nice people in the world, having people do this would help me finish this journey. They would give me the courage and determination to finish the trip to America. After not being able to trust anyone for such a long amount of time it would be a blessing to know that good people are out there and are willing to help. If I had to make this journey with Enrique, I doubt I would be able to keep up and finish the trip. I am not a strong enough person to come to America from another country as a refugee.

Sept.22: Refugee panel reflection

This week I attended a refugee panel at Villanova and got to here from four courageous and amazing people. On the panel there were two men and two women. They all came from different places and struggled with different journey’s. One of the guys was from Honduras, the other guy was from Syria, one of the women was from Jordan, and the other was from Ecuatorial Guinea.

The man who was from Honduras, his name is Louise, and I do not know why but his story really spoke to me. While he was talking about his experience all I wanted to do was go up to him and give him a hug. Louise had to leave Honduras because he was speaking out against gang violence and when the gangs heard they targeted him. He told us that he had to walk from Honduras to America by himself at only sixteen years old. By doing this he left his mother, father, siblings, and his own child behind. Louise said when he said goodbye to his parents they told him if they did not see him again in this world they will see him in heaven, and that statement broke my heart into a million pieces. I could not imagine leaving my parents and thinking maybe the next time I would see them would be in the heaven. Another thing that really stood out to me was when he pulled out his shoes he wore to come over to America. At that moment all of my emotions came rushing to the surface and I could not hold myself together. To us those may just look like shoes but to him they gave him freedom. Those shoes brought him and his parents to safety. His story was very touching as were the others.

The woman from Jordan brought her six kids, the youngest was only a couple months and the oldest was six, this woman was truly courageous. All of the people on this panel showed me what it means to be strong and brave. I learned that refugees have to go through so much to get to somewhere where they can feel safe and not fear for their lives.

My questions that I still have is, why do people still not understand what these people are going through? Why are more people not educating themselves on the refugee crisis happening right in front of them? How come we are not doing more to help these refugees who are risking their lives just to keep them? These questions need to be answered and we need to do something about it right now. Imagine if this was you and you had to run away at sixteen? Would you be able to do it? Next time you hear something about refugees or see something on television or the internet look into it and see if you can help in anyway.

Sept. 22: Connections I can think of between being a refugee or migrant and the danger of human trafficking

After reviewing information, concerning refugees and people caught by human trafficking, there are a few similarities that I find interesting about both topics.  These issues are becoming more and more problematic each day.  People that are refugees and that are effected by human trafficking have to leave their homes and embark on long and dangerous journeys.  Refugees and people being affected by human trafficking have the highest percentage rates as of right now. Also, another thing is that CRS is trying to bring awareness to these horrific problems going on around the world.

Refugee’s and people being affected by human trafficking both have to leave their homes and go on dangerous journeys.  They are being forced to leave their homes and abandon their lives.  Could you even imagine being forced out of your home and go on such a dangerous journey?  Refugees have to leave their home and find safety for them and their families and people who are forced into human trafficking are being forced out of their homes only to be used for money.  Just thinking what these people have to go through when they leave their homes is terrifying. They don’t know if they are ever coming back or what is going to happen to them throughout the journey.

The percentage rate of both of these problems are the highest as of right now.  The refugee crisis and human trafficking have the largest amount of people being affected than any other problems happening around the world.  There is an estimated twenty million people being affected by human trafficking and there is an estimated twenty-one million people being affected by the refugee crisis.  It is just heartbreaking thinking about what all these people have to go through. Also it is sickening to see how high the numbers are and how they have not gone down.  Both of these problems are extremely serious and people need to pay more attention to them and spread the word.

Another thing that the refugee crisis and human trafficking have in common is that CRS is trying to bring awareness to them.   CRS is a wonderful organization that helps the less fortunate overseas to get help and seek safety.  Hopefully by having CRS help the people being affected by these problems it will educate others who don’t really know about them.  CRS takes donations to put towards helping the people going through these problems get out of them and reach safety.  It is sad to think about how many people don’t even think about these problems because they think it can never happen to them. I hope that since CRS is involved with helping spread awareness that people realize that these problems can happen to any of us at any time and we need to put a stop to this.


Write: Sept 15: What policies does CRS recommend regarding Syria?

CRS has seven policies they recommend regarding the problems happening in Syria and how to help. The first policy is to end the violence. Violence has been a huge problem in Syria so by doing this it will get the ball rolling. Pope Francis urges support for “humanitarian assistance” and “a political solution to the crisis…as soon as possible.” The United States was asked to work with other governments to help the Syrian people through this crisis. This policy will allow the Syrian people to come back home without fearing their lives. The second policy is long term strategy, this one is to help the Syrian people after everything is resolved and they can go home. After it is safe to come back home this policy will bring them back safely and help them rebuild their homes. Back during the Iraqi refugee crisis, they didn’t have a plan for them at the end and they ended up staying in the places where refugees are being sent there now. Policy number three is humanitarian funding. This policy is to help fund the refugees when they get back to rebuild their country. The needs in Syria are continuing to grow and we need to help fund them. The UNHCR has revised its appeal for the fifth time but the full amount of the appeal has not come in yet. The account is underfunded and needs more help. Policy number four is humanitarian access. This ensures that there will be aide for the Syrians when they cross the border. Policy number five is focused on vulnerable groups. The majority of refugees live in urban towns and have to pay rent. Most of them don’t live in the camps. We need to keep our eye out for the vulnerable groups so they don’t feel out of place. Regional assistance is policy number six and this is aid from various sources. The United States congress is fighting on whether or not we should help. Instead of fighting we should just help so we can help the refugees get to safety. Finally, policy number seven is humanitarian registrations, the governments should all make it easier for refugees to get in. If we follow these seven steps it should help with the refugee crisis.

Sept. 13 What can we do?

Before I started this course, I didn’t really pay attention to the news, so I didn’t really hear about refugees that much. When I did hear about them, I didn’t really understand what they were going through and how bad it actually is. I never knew all the horrible things these people have to go through, just to feel safe. When we did talk about refugees in school, it was never as in depth or as personal as it is in this course. After being in this course for a little, I have learned so much about refugees and the struggles they go through on a daily basis. Everyone is affected by these tragic events, even the children. Families have to risk their lives to find somewhere they can raise their children and feel safe. Others should learn more about refugees and the struggles they have to face. These people who are running to find safety are dealing with so much more than anyone could imagine. They are dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder, heartache, depression, and so much more. The children have trouble sleeping, have flashbacks, and wet the bed. These poor children have lived and matured so much faster than children in America have to. They didn’t get to enjoy their childhood because their home was in the middle of a war. That is sad that these children had to lose their innocence at such a young age. People need to start learning about the horrors that these poor people have to face and to start, I would start a conversation with people about it. I would explain all the things I have learned about them and direct them to certain articles and videos. Also, I could spread awareness by posting it on my social medias. My message is that there are people in this world that are less fortunate than us and we have to realize that and help. Once we all realize that we are all human beings and deserve human rights, we will start a change.

Sept. 8 What do refugees face if they escape?

Every minute, twenty-four people are fleeing their homes the UN reports show the Daily Mail. While reading the articles and watching the videos, it showed the cruel conditions the refugees go through. In the Youtube video, “On board an armed smugglers’ boat with Iraqi and Syrian refugees”, smugglers went along the Turkish coast to find dozens of refugees waiting and hiding behind bushes. The boat was over capasitated but they made it work. The boat was holding sixty people in total and the refugees did not get on there for cheap. The cost was two thousand euros per adult and one thousand euros per child. As the video went on the narrator said that the youngest child on the boat was two months old. In total there were twenty young children on the boat as it sailed away. I couldn’t even imagine being so young and having to stay on a cramped boat with fifty-nine other people, and escpecially strangers who I have never met before. Also, in the article, “What Life is Like for Children in War-Torn Aleppo”, it explains that there are an estimated seventy-five thousand children fighting to survive in eastern Aleppo. Instead of these children getting to enjoy their childhood they are in constant fear and just trying to survive. In the article, there is a quote and it states “They survive, rather than live.”  As I read this, I got chills throughout my entire body because these children are going through their whole life thinking that life is about surviving and not about living. Once the families decide to pack up and leave to find a better and safer place to live their lives it becomes survival of the fittest. In the video, “In Egypt, CRS Helps Refugees Start Over” on YouTube, there is a woman named Handai Muhammad Nisaar El Dabea and she lived in Damascus in Syria. Handai is the mother of three children and they had a pretty good life, but sadly they had to leave Syria. Handai said they packed up their family and left Syria to save their children’s lives. There is also another parent in the video and his name is Nasserlsdin. Nassereldin is a CRS Small Business Trainee and he used his savings to get passports for his children. He said that he sold everything in his house to afford the passports. Both of the refugee families fled to Egypt. Once Nassereldin and her family arrived, she was nervous that she wouldn’t be able to make a living. As time went on, both families started to find their place in their new homes. As I read the articles and watched the videos, I learned a lot about what refugees have to go through if they escape. The video and articles really show you how determined and courageous they are. I do not think I would have the will to pick my life up and my families and go across the country knowing that I might not make it there.

Sept. 6 The Children of Syria

In the video “The Children of Aleppo” it opened my eyes to what refugees have to go through. I could not imagine having to go through some of the things this family had to endure. To leave your home without knowing if you’re ever going to return is a terrifying thought. I cannot even fathom how difficult this has to be on them. If I ever had to leave my home, family, and friends I don’t think I could do it. Refugees are strong and courageous people. In the first part “Children in War” we meet the family who we were learning about. We meet Abu Ali who is the father and he fights in the rebel army, his wife Hala, Mohammad the oldest child who is twelve, Helen who is ten, Farah who is eight, and the youngest Sara who is four. While we get to know the family we learn the loyalty they have towards their family and country. Mohammad said that they will stay with their father and will not leave him. Even though the family is at risk they do not want to split up and leave the father behind. Just watching the video, it showed how mature the children there are and how smart they are. Farah who is eight years old says she helps her dad make the bombs. When I was eight I was in the second grade and was learning how to add and subtract two digit numbers, which at the time was difficult. Since the children do not have school one of the older kids, Helen, acts as the younger sibling’s teacher and helps them learn. The girls go and explore random homes around them and Sara the youngest wanted to take the toys, but she didn’t understand that it was wrong to do so. In the second part “Escape From Syria” Ali Abu has been kidnapped from his home in the middle of the night. This taught me how unsafe and unprotected they are at all times. This broke the family they didn’t know if they would ever see Ali Abu again. Helen said that the family couldn’t be without their father and the longer he was gone the more hope was lost of him coming back. Hala explained how ISIS is showing a false portrayal of the Muslim religion. Hala finally decides to flee the country with her children and go to Germany. I didn’t realize how hard it would be to leave your home until I had to watch them do it. They had to leave their grandmother and cousins behind which broke my heart. They also kept saying “Syria please forgive us” which also made me realize how hard it was for them to leave their home, family, friends, and country that they love so dearly. Also Sara said that she had left a piece of her heart at the home for her dad to find if he ever returned. By January 2015 more than one and a half million Syrian’s have fled to refugee camps like the ones that this family went to. In the third “Children as Refugees”, it starts off after two days have past at the refugee camp and the family crosses the boarder to Turkey. The family has now started their journey as Refugee’s and they stay in Istanbul with family waiting for their asylum application to be granted. When the children first got to Istanbul they played in the ocean and Farah told us that they were not afraid anymore the scenery reminded them of home. This taught me you always have a piece of home with you even if it is just memories. After three months in Istanbul the family has been granted asylum and can travel to Germany legally and safely. The family was provided money and a home in Goslar, Germany. Once they get there the family gets twenty-two thousand dollars a month with free health care and education. The children went to school and Farah was nervous but the kids in their classes were nice and excepted them well which is amazing. The children made plenty of friends and were starting to feel at home. After six months the mood in Germany changes and people were getting angry at the refugees. More than half a million Syrian refugees have fled to Germany in 2015. Most of the refugees stay in reception centers and hostiles while awaiting their asylum applications. Mohammad and Helen with a couple of their friends signed up to help around the reception centers and hostiles. While watching “The Children of Aleppo” it made me realize the struggles refugees have to go through just to feel safe. They had to flee their homes because they didn’t feel safe in their own homes which is truly sad. It also showed me how strong of a person you need to be to leave your entire past behind and move somewhere else. They moved thousands of miles from their home and they don’t know if they are ever going to return. Lastly, leaving family members behind and not knowing what is happening to them must be the most awful feeling. This video taught not everyone has it as good as you do and we should learn and help out people who truly need it like this family did.

Sept. 1 List of what I packed

  1. Water
  2. Food
  3. blanket
  4. Money
  5. Clothes
  6. Hat
  7. Umbrella
  8. First Aide Kit

Sept. 1 What I hope to learn

Through out this semester I hope to learn more about the problems that our world is facing today. In this class we are going to learn about global issues, Syrian Refugees, and human trafficking and how they are affecting our world today. Since this isn’t happening to or around us we don’t realize how other people are being affected by these problems. While in this class, we are going to gain more knowledge about the people who have to go through this in their life time. Through out this course I hope to gain a better understanding of what these people are going through and to spread awareness to people who may not understand what is going on. By the end of the semester we are going to have learned awareness of global independence, understand multiple detentions of communities, understand global systems and the effect on human rights, and take personal and social responsibility for global community. At the end of this course I hope that I will understand on a different level how these problems people are going through around the world is affecting their everyday life. I obviously won’t completely understand but I will have a better grasp on how they are living. My goal in this class is to learn about what is happening around the world and to educate others about the problems people are facing on a daily basis. It is good to know about what is happening in the world around you. The things I want to improve on in this class is gaining a better understanding about the world around me. I tend to live in my own little world and not really pay attention to world problems. I hope that this class will break me of that and help me branch out and learn more.