On Thursday, I attended a refugee simulation that was put on at my school. It was supposed to show people what life is like for the many refugees across the world, and it really opened my eyes to the tough situations that these individuals are in.
I walked into the simulation room and was handed a piece of paper that stated my mock story as a refugee. I represented a mother from Syria who is a refugee in the nearby country of Lebanon. She had to move numerous times throughout her life due to the crises in her home country. She is now writing a story about her experiences as a refugee and what it is like for other families similar to her own.
The first place I went to was a shelter for refugees. This represented what individuals and their families have to live in. The makeshift home was a very small enclosed area with a tarp covering the top. The only possessions inside were some pots and pans for cooking. I was inside the shelter with three other refugees and it was very tight and uncomfortable.
The second station at this makeshift refugee camp was food and the third station was water. There were small bowls of rice and beans that represented the typical daily diet for a refugee. They are forced to eat much less than we likely eat in a day, and they also have to work much harder to get their food. The nutritional variety of their food is very narrow too. Most refugees do not have access to clean water. Others have to walk miles to get buckets of water that they have to carry back to their camps.
The doctor was the next stop. For many of the refugees, they have not seen a doctor in several years. The doctor checked my heart rate and gave me some shots. He said my body may not react very well to the shots because I had not eaten yet that day.
Following the doctor, I learned about education for refugees. Many do not even have access to education, but some children are able to go to small schools for refugees. They do not have access to many resources that we take for granted, like unlimited amounts of pencils, paper, books, and computers.
This ended my experience as a refugee, but then I learned how I can help the refugee situation in the real world. I was told about various different organizations that seek to help refugees around the world. The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) aims to provide education services to refugees. They have served 37,943 refugees in West Africa, 7,301 refugees in the Middle East, and 15,129 refugees in Eastern Africa, just to name a few (jrsusa.org).
This experience made me realize how blessed I am. We should all be more appreciative of our clean water, variety of food, medical services, homes, families, and schools. We also ought to make a better effort to help those that are less fortunate than us in any ways that we can.