“The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow” – Nelson Mandela
From Mandela to Malala, young people have always been at the forefront of changing the status quo. We are living in a world which is increasingly faced with huge social challenges, from climate change, to displacement, to poverty to child marriage. However, more and more young people are becoming mobilised to ensure not that their parents leave a better world for them, but they themselves are an active part in securing such a world.
Shahm is one such youth. Born in Belgium to Syrian parents, Shahm spent most of his fifteen years working alongside his mother, the founder of SB OverSeas, a Brussels-based organisation working to provide aid, education and empowerment programs to displaced people. How did he spend his summer break? In Lebanon, volunteering with refugees.
How did he find it? As many of our other volunteers who go to Lebanon to teach, he did not realise ‘how this trip was going to make him grow and broaden his horizons.’
He spent his time assisting in the classroom by helping teach Arabic. After class, he played outside with the children and youth of the camp allowing him to ‘create a relationship with the children’.
When our container arrived filled with clothes and other materials arrived from Brussels. Shahm helped with unloading it and the distribution between the three centres. In Saida, he spent two days organising and sorting the clothes, before doing distributions to the different families in the camp.
Coming back to Brussels, his interest in volunteering with refugee youth was reignited. He is determined to spend his weekends in the asylum centre doing activities with the refugee youth as part of SB Espoir.
His final thoughts on the experience: “It is priceless when we see the smile on the face of a child that is happy to learn new things.”