Students at Bishop Allen Academy in Etobicoke, Toronto, raised an amazing $1,200.22 to assist refugees from Syria. They held bake sales and lunches and collections in homeroom classes during Lent in 2015. Since the Syrian Uprising began in 2011, CJI has worked closely with the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) to support Syrian refugees. In the following account, Daniella Altobelli, a student at Bishop Allen Academy, describes the students’ keen awareness, motivation and response in the bake sale event:
Imagine the place that is most familiar to you, the place where you grew up, the place where you took your first steps, said your first words and shed your first tears. Imagine the people you lived with, the friends that you made and the neighbours that surrounded you. Imagine your safe place, whether it be inside the walls of your house or under the covers of your bed. Now imagine being taken from this place, not knowing where you are headed, having no clue how long you will be gone for and not given the opportunity to say goodbye. Imagine the reason for leaving was that your life was in danger and your safe place was no longer safe.
As unrealistic as it sounds to us, it is the reality for more than 3,000,000 Syrian people. This mass population had to seek refuge in different cities and countries in order to guarantee their safety. A large percentage of these refugees are children, 18 years and younger, who do not have the opportunities that other children all over the world have. These children do not have the opportunity to go to school, to learn, to receive an education to further their lives.
This is where organizations like the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) step into action. This organization not only sends food and supplies, they build schools, check in with families and send volunteers to help reconstruct lives. JRS gives opportunities to children to receive the education they deserve to further prosper in their lives. This organization is largely supported by donations from all over the world.