A group of 12 Coventry University students are setting up a charity to help refugees living in Jordan.
The students flew to Amman in September as part of the third cultural exchange funded by Coventry alumnus and international philanthropist Dr Majid AlSadi.
During the 10-day Majid Al Sadi Changing Lives Programme, they took part in multicultural activities at the Jordan Media Institute and the Al-Aman Fund for the Future of Orphans – a charity founded by Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan.
Following their visit to a Al Mafraq, a small refugee site near Za’atari camp in the north of Jordan – home to an estimated 120,000 refugees from the Syrian war – they raised over £4,500 to buy essential supplies through Facebook and Twitter appeals.
In just 48 hours, family and friends in the UK donated thousands, which was used to buy water, food, blankets and other healthcare supplies in Downtown Amman before distributing them personally to refugee camps.
Now back in the UK, the cultural exchange participants hope to continue their aid by launching a new charity, ‘Refugee Hope’.
Chris Smith, senior development manager at Coventry University said: “Refugee Hope was founded by the students who took part in the trip because they were so moved from what they saw out in Jordan. They founded the charity to help the people in Jordan, particularly the Syrian refugees.”
Speaking about how the students raised an astonishing £4,500 for the refugees, Chris added: “It was pretty phenomenal. 24 hours later, there was about £2000 in the kitty. It was unbelievable how each student on the trip managed to get the message out to their social networks and before we knew it… £4000. “
The students are hoping to organise the charity independently by becoming trustees and travelling to Jordan to distribute aid and continue projects.
Last week, Matthew Lyle, Second year Disaster Management student and participant of the Majid Al Sadi Changing Lives Programme, travelled to Jordan for the second time for his workshop project, ‘drawing4disasters’. He revisited refugee camps in Al Mafraq to interact with the children through fun activities.
Matthew said: “We literally wrote on Facebook what we were doing and people wanted to donate and contribute to the aid we were giving.”
“In two years, I hope we’ll have established ourselves and made some sort of name for ourselves in the international market… I hope we help some refugees.”
Thousands of Syrians have fled to Jordan to escape the brutal civil war. According to the UN, there are already 563, 706 registered Syrian refugees living in Jordan.
- Syrian refugees top three million mark (skynews.com.au)
- Coventry University students to set up charity to help Syrian refugees (coventrytelegraph.com)