Friday, October 19, 2012

Refugees: A Fight for a New Life

Refugees from various parts of the world have been recieving help from KIS students every Saturday as part of a new project from the KIS HELP Club. Kyiv International  School does not limit the students to academic achievement only, but KIS also allows the development of many other traits through extra curricular activities, such as the Help Club. The KIS Help Club is a group of students, guided by Mr. Jackson, in order to meet their humanitarian, ecological, and leadership goals. Goals like these are usually met through projects; their most recent,  volunteering to help out at a Refugee Center created by the UNHCR .

The project sparked interest in Daud, current president of the Help Club as he browsed the list of possible new projects to take on for the year. Constanza, a former student of KIS, later visited members of the HELP Club to further inform students about the UNHCR's involvement with the refugees, and about the refugee center which is being sponsored by Rokada, a non profit organization.

"At that time they needed someone to lead the project and I said I was willing to do that. She needed someone to keep teaching them, so I thought that would be good and it will go into our leadership goals for the H.E.L.P. Club. We gathered a group of people with Mr. Jackson, contacted them, went to the center, and that's how we started." - Daud

So who is it that they're helping? The refugees mainly consist of victims of war from Afghanistan who have found it necessary to flee their country; however other nationalities such as Iran, Vietnam, and Azerbaijan are  also represented. The refugees cover a wide range of ages, but the majority who go to the refugee center are children and teenagers who are eager to interact with KIS students.

"A lot of the refugees are here from 15 years ago. Their lives were at risk and felt the need to flee the country so they came here during Soviet times. Many of the children were born here, but they still don't have the Ukrainain citizenship. Some don't even have a refugee status." explained Daud.

Each Saturday students from KIS go to the refugee center in order to help the refugees out by providing them with a fun learning experience in English through socialization. The objective of this project is to be proactive and actually get involved. "It's not like we're just asking for money, or donations. We actually want to be influential, teach these kids something, be there for them. These people are in a position where they need someone to pay attention to them, especially when the government isn't paying any to their situation, so at least we're there to provide them with some sort of interaction."

Any person who would like to help out at the refugee center is more than welcome to. The refugee center is only a 20 minute bus ride away from Metro Lisova on the Left Bank. Each Saturday, the group of volunteers gather inside of Khreshatic Metro Station at 9:30 A.M. and go together to the refugee center. If YOU are interested in helping out, don't hesitate to contact Mr. Jackson,  or see Daud for more information.

By: Nadia Rendon