We have chosen a very difficult trip and a complicated set of tasks. This sentiment stems from an intellectual challenge of reconciling our desire to make a positive impact given our limited time and abilities. However, we are excited and very motivated to provide an organizational structure based off of the skill set that we bring for “Students for Refugees,” an organization that is creating a change within the community and dynamics of the Sudanese Asylum Seekers in Arad. Today we began our organizational planning and structure, our group is divided into three teams. We are working on three different themes of children’s activities, ESL curriculum development, and website design. We began our work in the “Moadon Shel Sharon”(Sharon’s Club, which acts as a community center of the Ye’ellim neighborhood of Arad), and the ESL curriculum group went to go work with some of the Sudanese asylum seekers within the community. All of the groups this week have been assessing the needs of the community and are aiming to fill the gaps that we see in various aspects of daily life, to the best of our abilities.
Working with the Sudanese men today was a very candid and emotional look into the socio-political journey and struggle that have brought these men to not only Israel, but to the city of Arad. It was a difficult meeting to experience and share with our group as with each stakeholder meeting, be it Israeli or Sudanese, the multi-layered complexity only increases. We are not so naïve as to believe that we can change every aspect of their struggles or understand the complete situation within our ten days in Israel, but we are taking action on the opportunities that we can engage with as students. These actions may be simple and frustrating in the sense that the more we learn about this complex struggle, the less we realize the amount of impact we can have on the ground here within our time in Arad—but our story is not over, and our work and personal growth will only continue in multi-faceted ways.
“The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise (wo)man knows himself (or herself) to be a fool.” – William Shakespeare
Aimal and Jesse