Many of us have grand visions of one day completely changing the world. With access to powerful modern-day resources, including the internet, cell phones, video conferencing software, etc., being able to do so is perhaps more possible than ever. I constantly hear stories about people, as young as teenagers, founding nonprofit organizations or inventing products that literally change the world. Just recently, I came across a 17-year old girl who designed a low cost, portable test for Ebola. Her solution was the grand prize winner of the 2015 Google Science Fair (congratulations to her by the way...she is an AWESOME person!).
These feats are astounding, extraordinary, and mind-blowing. After hearing of such achievements, it is easy to become discouraged and feel that you yourself are incapable of ever contributing something so meaningful to the world. The truth, though, is that each and every one of us can provide something valuable. Zehra, a poor 14-year old refugee from Aleppo, Syria taught me this. She is an extremely mature and intelligent girl, currently living in Ankara, Turkey. Zehra is able to receive some free education through a group known as Building Bridges for Refugee Children (BBfRC). Below is an interview that we had with her:
Q: When did you arrive in Ankara, Turkey?
Zehra: I moved here from Aleppo, Syria two and a half years ago, with my parents and three brothers.
Q: What are your brothers like?
Zehra: I have two older brothers and one younger brother. They all work, and are also learning Turkish.
Q: When you’re not in class with BBfRC, what do you do?
Zehra: In the morning, I help my brothers get ready for work. Then, I go help my mother who works for a local non-governmental organization in the place we live. We finish at 4pm and go home and I prepare dinner. I really like cooking for my family.
Q: What do you like to cook? And does anyone help you with the cooking?
Zehra: I love to cook pasta and rice dishes, but I also love making French fries! I cook alone…I prefer to cook by myself :).
Q: What else do you enjoy doing?
Zehra: My favorite hobby is painting. I love to paint sunsets.
Q: What do you want to do when you grow up?
Zehra: I want to be a doctor. I want to study medicine in Istanbul in a few years, and work as a family doctor in the future, specializing in childcare. I also want to learn French and improve my English.
Q: Are you happy living in Ankara, Turkey?
Zehra: I’m not really that happy, but I accept the situation. I’m happy on Fridays and Saturdays when I go to Building Bridges for Refugee Children and learn English and play games with the other children. I think I will be even happier when I am allowed my own pet cat!
Q: Anything you wish to say to the readers?
Zehra: I just want to say thank you to anyone who volunteers around the world, and anyone who opens their doors to refugees and people less fortunate than themselves. You have pure hearts.
Ultimately, just volunteering or helping a person less fortunate than yourself is meaningful. Sacrificing a bit of your time can literally change the world for kids like Zehra. There are millions of people out there you can help. Never feel like you are incapable of making a difference in the world. A pure heart is all you need. What difference will you make?
Building Bridges for Refugee Children is a nonprofit program with the goal of assisting refugee children and their families become integrated into society, by voluntarily teaching them Turkish and English. The program also concentrates on providing clothes, medicine, and other needed support for refugee families. Find out more about the mission and how you can get involved HERE.