Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Abigail and Refugees

My heart has been greatly saddened and moved many times over in the last week as the lives of refugees has become front and central in the news and around our dinner table discussions. 

Last Wednesday, I was reading on my FB feed and came across the following from Abigail, an American 19 year old.

Refugees are PEOPLE. I think that is something incredibly important to remember right now. If you have an issue with Donald Trump's executive order to indefinitely block Syrian refugees as well as temporary halt all other refugees, please call your representatives. I know I will be calling mine. 

Abigail is a former short-term team member to Rwanda and I know that the experience here in Rwanda impacted her greatly and has helped shape who she continues to become. 
I was blessed by her passion - by her determination, to do what she can do to make this world a better place. I wrote her and told her so and asked for her to give me a little rundown as to what got me to where she is now ... and where she's headed. 
Abigail with refugee children in IL

So I started to get involved with the refugee community when I entered high school. Our church had a program where refugees could be tutored in English while their kids were watched. I, with my youth group, took over the task of watching the kids. This involved helping with homework, snacks and games. I did this all throughout high school....

My perspective on refugees really changed through after our trip to Rwanda. It gave me a real view of what refugees daily life consists of. I was horrified that some people could live their entire life without knowing what goes on in a refugee camp, how small their living conditions are and food rations.

I knew from then on that I wanted to get involved with refugees in my future career. 

So currently I am at the University of Dayton studying political science with a minor in international relations. Last semester I worked as a fellow for the Hillary Clinton campaign. 

I also just accepted a scholarship for a 9 week program in Malawi this summer to do research with a Malawi student. i will be researching the impact of direct support of government institutions (schools, hospitals, etc.) in the Chilumba catchment area. So pretty much looking at the service delivery of government and compare that to private and NGO delivery in a number of areas (health, education, agriculture support, etc.) I leave mid May and am so excited to go back to Africa! Currently I have my eyes set on working for the State Department or the UN, but I have a few more years to figure that out so who knows. 

As you can see, just interacting with refugees has really shaped my life.

And that right there, is why we host short - term teams!
We always pray that their time spent with us with change how they think, how they view the world, how they interact with people and what they do with their life.  

Looking forward to seeing where Abigail's journey continues!

Abigail in Kiziba Refugee Camp

1 comment:

Kathryn Dibadj said...

Thanks Jen! I'm not very good with words, so I say a giant thank you! Keep up your amazing work. Love you all. Kathy