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Traveling to bring smiles to little faces

Traveling to bring smiles to little faces

Rasha Abousalem with the 3 little boys in Sahaab refugee camp.

Rasha Abousalem with the 3 little boys in Sahaab refugee camp.

About a year ago I went on a humanitarian trip through Jordan. I visited Syrian refugees in various regions and camps. During my trip I was able to deliver some financial aide to refugees and bring donated items for children, such as toys.

During my trip I met many interesting people and heard countless stories of war and despair. But I also witnessed hope and persistence. I also served as a translator for the Global First Responder medical relief team which, along with Salaam Cultural Museum (SCM), provided medical assistance to Syrian refugees. SCM is a Jordanian NGO based in Seattle, WA that assists various groups in need throughout the Middle East.

After my three week journey, I knew my travels would not end in Jordan. Now I am working with Global First Responder  and will travel to the a small village in India, Puttaparthi, which is two hours from Bangalore.

This rural area is home to a little over 15,000 people (2011 estimate). The region is famous worldwide as the birthplace and residence of Indian guru and philanthropist Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Leading attractions include the late guru’s residence of Prasanthi Nilayam and a local mosque.

GFR has teamed up with a local sponsor family to provide medical care to locals, and will primarily work out of a local school, giving much needed medical attention to local families and will be providing one week of medical care. The GFR team will also be visiting the Super Specialty Hospital-a local hospital founded by the late Sai Baba providing free medical care to those in need.

This time around I won’t be translating. but I will definitely continue the same work that I started in Jordan, which is to bring as many smiles to as many little faces as possible! The local school is attended by roughly 300 children, ranging in ages from 5-17 years old.

Prior to my first trip to Jordan I created the Hand to Heart page to help keep those who donated or who were interested in the trip to stay updated on the items being collected and how they were being dispersed.

Now the page is expanding to include any of my future trips.

Dr. Adam Beckett (L) and Rick Baker of GFR

Dr. Adam Beckett (L) and Rick Baker of GFR

How can you help? 

1) Contact me via the Hand to Heart page for information on how to send a monetary donation

(either via personal check, money order, PayPal, or directly into my account)

2) Mail me children’s items, such as small stuffed animals/toys, children’s clothing, etc.

After speaking to our host in India, items that we are primarily interested in collecting are school supply items (pencils, erasers, backpacks, etc) and toothbrushes, as I was saddened to find out that many of the village children “brush” their teeth using their fingers.

All the money collected will be used to purchase children’s items and to cover cost of transporting those items. All items will be distributed primarily at the school either by me personally or by another member of the GFR team.

For more information on Global First Responder and how you can help support their medical missions, as well as information on how you can volunteer on future trips, please visit their site.

Please “Like” my Hand to Heart page and keep a lookout for updates on the upcoming India trip, as well as future trips!

Report: US-Israeli relationship plays in repression, racism and backlash against pro-Palestinian activists

Report: US-Israeli relationship plays in repression, racism and backlash against pro-Palestinian activists

The Nekba will never be forgotten

The Nekba will never be forgotten