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Hey Everyone! We hope you are doing well and staying healthy during this difficult year. As most of you know, and some of you would have met us there, we worked in the Moria Refugee Camp for three and a half years on the Greek island of Lesvos. We were coordinators for a humanitarian aid organization that had major responsibilities in the camp which had 15,000 refugees at times. We coordinated shelter allocation (housing of the new arrival refugees to the camp), aid distributions(clothing, food, blankets, and hygiene items), caretaking for vulnerable cases (unaccompanied minors and single women), maintenance projects (upgrades to wash and shelter facilities), and informal education (classes for children and young adults). We left Lesvos back in January and returned to be close to our families in Chicago before Covid shut the world down. What most of you probably don’t know is that Lauren and I were only supposed to spend 6 weeks volunteering in the Moria Refugee Camp and then move to the Middle East to start Arabic language studies. After our first six weeks, we loved the work in the camp and saw the opportunity to help the organization grow, so we knew we needed to stay.  This led us to stay for three and a half years. Even during this time in Greece, our desire for Arabic studies did not diminish, but it actually grew as so many of the thousands of refugees we met spoke only Arabic, and we were unable to communicate with them in their language.

Our heart and vision to continue to work with refugees through meeting humanitarian and development needs have continued to grow since leaving Lesvos. Watching how much the global pandemic has affected so many refugees around the world has expanded our passion to help. After spending much time thinking and discussing with friends and family, we have decided to move to the Middle East to start Arabic language studies and network for future humanitarian projects. Learning Arabic is a practical tool that we believe will better train and equip us in being able to work with refugees. We have learned, through our time in Moria, the importance of needing to be able to communicate with people in humanitarian crises, so we are excited about this next step. We are also looking forward to connecting with many organizations and seeing how they are meeting humanitarian needs and where we could help in the future.

In order to go and study in the Middle East, we need your support! We are looking for people to financially partner with us as we move, both with one-time gifts and on a monthly basis. We are looking to raise $23,000 in start-up/one-time costs and $3,400 per month to cover all our expenses for the year, including flights, visas, housing, food, transportation, medical insurance, and Arabic courses. Would you consider partnering with us as we head to the Middle East to begin Arabic language studies and network with humanitarian organizations? (As the name of this website shows, gifts made through this campaign are tax-deductible, so you will receive a receipt.) If you want to hear more details about our decision to move, please contact us through email, text, Facebook, or Instagram, and we can send you more information or set up a time to talk. We appreciate your support and look forward to hearing from you.

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