Tell us about yourself?
My name is Nahla. I am an Egyptian pharmacist. I came to Belgium in 2014 to pursue my PhD in Biomedical Sciences.
How did you get involved with SB OverSeas?
In 2015. I saw the photo of the child (Alan), the refugee kid found dead on the beach. I could never forget this scene. I thought, I need to help those escaping the war, throwing themselves into the sea to reach Europe. I was searching until I found a post of SB OverSeas, shared by the (plateforme citoyenne de soutien aux refugiés), asking for volunteers to participate in weekend activities with with refugee children and minors.
Favourite memory of SB OverSeas?
I have so many memories during almost three years of weekend activities. I remember, after resuming the activities following the holidays, children I used to work with, came hugging me and my colleagues. This was one moment where I felt how we were creating a strong bond of love with our children.
I can never forget that, one day after the activities, an Afghan unaccompanied minor said: “I am very glad you came today. If not, we would have been sitting in the center doing nothing but browsing on cell phone.” These words were priceless!
What do you find challenging?
An important challenge is to keep the youth motivated and hopeful about their future. In addition, explaining to society the potential of these youth and how they can be a real addition to their new society if they are welcomed and allowed to integrate.
Advice for a future volunteer?
Overcome your fear and hesitation. Take the step to donate your time, money, efforts and transfer your skills. Keep persevering and do not get discouraged if one activity does not meet your expectations. Asylum seekers and refugee youth do not need pity, they need the skills and knowledge to show their potential and develop their talents.