In my junior year of high school, I volunteered for StARS
(Saint Andrew’s Refugees Services). It’s an organization that’s dedicated to
the improvement of refugees’ quality of life, and to support them obtain their
rights and live in dignity in Egypt without any discrimination on the bases of nationality,
ethnicity, or religion. StARS offers educational, psychological, and legal aid
I volunteered to be an English tutor for the adult education
program. The first time I went to StARS organization was my interview. Although
I read about activities and services they provided, I couldn’t imagine the harmony
of the staff with the refugees. It was the first time I ever had a real
conversation with a foreigner: The head of the HR committee of StARS. My illiteracy
of simple questions he asked were what made me go over my priorities: what’s
the capital of Nigeria and how many countries in Africa. Regardless of enthusiasm
to start tutoring, I had no experience dealing with anyone outside my comfort
zone. So, I started working under the supervision of an older volunteer.
I used to attend the conversation club session every week
and meet people of different ages, diverse cultures, and with various
interests. After a while, I subconsciously gained massive amount of information
in myriad of topics: sciences, literature, politics, history, and arts. I learned
about the 500 dialects Nigerians have, the different beliefs Indians embrace, and
the wedding ceremonies of Eritrean people.
To further improve the process of learning, as a movies geek I proposed
the “movie night” initiative and it was established every Thursday at the
Assembly room where all the classes gathered to watch and analyze –in English–
a movie each week. Moreover, after I had my MOS certificate, I offered to give Microsoft
Office session to children.
My experience at StARS was an enlightening one that has
broadened my horizons and made me become familiarized with ancient and modern
cultures. I believe that I’ve gained
from StARS as much I’ve gave it. It’s the wide grin, which appears on my face
upon arriving there, that I’m obliged to.