Girl Scouts Nation’s Capital Celebrates International Women’s Day 2013

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Items that Sarah collected for Syrian refugees

In honor of International Women’s Day, we are spotlighting Girl Scout Sarah’s Silver Award Project. International Women’s Day draws millions to commemorate the advancements made in human rights and to discuss the challenges women continue to face in politics, education, employment, and other areas of daily life.

I’m Sarah and I just finished my Silver Project. I collected and donated items to Syrian refugees, since I live in Jordan, and Jordan is right next to Syria.

When I watched the news about Syria in spring 2011, I felt that while I could not solve the refugee crisis I could make a difference. Whenever I loaded the car with items that I collected to bring them to the place where I sorted, the locals would stop and ask my dad in Arabic, “What’s going on?” He would answer, “My daughter is collecting and donating items to Syrian refugees.” The locals would compliment me, say I helped the community, and made a very good impression on Jordanians. They said they would tell the story about meeting a young American girl collecting stuff to help her community.This project helped with leadership and public speaking skills since I had to get others to assist, whether in raising money through bake sales and the American embassy newsletter or with collecting and sorting items. School friends, fellow Girl Scouts, embassy people, and my family all lent a hand. I learned from other people that if you don’t sort the items into girl shoes, boy shoes, adult clothes, kitchen items, etc., then you aren’t helping them as much. Items get to refugees quicker at the distribution centers and refugee camps when they are well organized. When you sort you show that you are putting your time and effort into helping them.

What really helped me make the project easier and better was finding a mentor in the community who had direct access to the refugee camps. I have helped establish a relationship between this refugee organization and the American embassy. People continue to donate items and money since this is an ongoing effort that will continue after I move back to the US this summer. Many people in the embassy community want to help and now have an easy way to do so. So far I have collected $1000, mostly to buy winter shoes and jackets, spent about 60 hours, and the whole project has been about 120 hours.

This project enabled me to put the Girl Scout law into action in many ways. Now when I watch the news, I know that I’m trying to help the Syrian refugees. Please see my video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2fduKIFDXng.