“It’s not charity, it’s humanity.”

Meet…The Human

10 stories. Different aspirations, experiences, and lives. Let’s learn more about the humans we are impacting and even more will continue to help. Bi-weekly, a refugee’s story will be posted and slowly but surely we will discover that we aren’t that different after all.

Days of intense bombings have destroyed or damaged the last remaining hospitals in East Aleppo, including three supported by the IRC. Below is a first-person account from one of the many Syrians who live under constant gunfire and barrel bombs:

Aleppo bombs: “It’s pretty much nonstop; it’s terrifying”

Shattered by the death of her parents and younger sister, 16-year-old Hiba somehow found the strength to lead her brothers to safety in Jordan. She shares her recollections of the journey and her drawings of life in Syria:

A Syrian teenager describes her escape from war-torn Aleppo 

Patrick and George grew up in the inner cities of Zambia, where they witnessed and experienced all kinds of hardships and ugliness: sleeping on cold cement floors, lacking enough food to eat, hearing cries of rape outside their doors. They would walk for miles, sometimes without shoes, to fetch water from the nearest well:

Two brothers’ quest to change hearts and minds about refugees

Dr. Manal Faham runs a busy neurology practice in Dubai. She’s been working in the Gulf States for almost 30 years. But as she watched the tragic war unfold in her native Syria, she took leave from her practice to join doctors working to save the sick and wounded.

A doctor returns home to help save her fellow Syrians

“I always knew America wasn’t a place where one can survive without a lot of hard work and dedication, without encountering obstacles and failures. My journey from Syria to the United States is a testament to this spirit.”

Dear world, refugees are not to be feared


“Riding the bus from northern Jordan to the port city of Aqaba, three teenage girls beam with excitement as they approach the Ayla Aviation Academy. They are imagining what it will be like to fly in an airplane.”

Making dreams soar for Syrian and Jordanian girls


Syrian mothers at Arbat camp in Iraq wouldn’t sit by as their daughters lost an education. Instead, they took action. “Our girls are sitting at home doing nothing!” exclaimed Kabira, a Syrian mother of four daughters who now lives in a camp in Iraq. “They should be in school, so we are planning a demonstration.”

Fighting for their daughters: Syrian mothers open a school

A Brief Overview

The Syrian Refugee crisis, the biggest humanitarian and refugee crisis of our time. Driven out of their home country Syria, men, women and children are forced out of their homes due to outbreak of civil war and conflict. In search for a new home, Syrian Refugees try their best to rebuild their lives that has been shattered. Yet they run into many obstacles along the way which lead to high numbers of deaths, separation of families, and loss of hope.

Why Me The Human?

Me The Human. Often, we forget this in the midst of our everyday life. We forget the simple concept that we are human, the ones we know, and the ones we don’t. Bringing it back to the very root of who are, and why are we helping others will help us further serving and loving others without borders. On the other hand, refugees are dehumanized everywhere you go and a lot of this shown on the media. They are being dehumanized because of the stereotypes that lie around refugees and the fear of not knowing who they are. In an interview with a Syrian Refugee, she states, “We ask for humanity-for people to treat us like human beings”. We see pictures and videos of the tragedies that Syrian Refugees go through, but we only see it. It’s often hard to listen to what they’re saying due to the sorrow and grief that they show, but if we listen closely, you can hear them. Every single thing they say ties back to them saying, “Me! I am a human too!” If we look towards ourselves and say, “Me The Human”, then look around to see others who are saying the same thing, we can recognize ourselves as a human and then others as humans too, bringing us together on a common ground. Why are we fighting so hard for Syrian refugees? It’s because we are humans, and so are they.

The Specifics

Struggles They Face

  • Trapped in conflict
  • Decimated infrastructure and economic markets
  • Children left school
  • Attacks continue to rise
  • Low supply of doctors and medical help


How We Will Help (Money Wise)

  • Partner with local groups to ensure the flow of medicine, supplies, etc.
  • Provide health care
    • Primary, trauma, and reproductive
  • Supplying clothing
  • Running protection services
Struggles They Face

  • Turkey
    • 3 million refugees
  • Lebanon
    • 1 million refugees
  • Jordan
    • 600,000 refugees
  • For every neighboring country
  • Lack of basic necessities
    • Water, food, medicine, clothing
    • Lack of economic opportunities lead to increased domestic violence and child labor


How We Will Help (Money Wise)

  • Healthcare, safety services, emergency relief
  • Many different services
    • Education for youth
    • Counseling for girls, income opportunities
    • Recovery from trauma and psychological support
Struggles They Face

  • Greece
    • 57,000 Refugees
  • Temporary housing sites provided by Greece don’t meet humanitarian needs (just like the camps in neighboring countries)
  • Lack of information regarding
    • Transportation options
    • Asylum services
    • Psychological support


How We Will Help (Money Wise)

  • Environmental health, protection and information, economic recovery and development
  • Open learning and healing spaces
  • Clean toilet and shower facilities
  • Education about how to take care of themselves in their situation  
Struggles They Face

  • Lack of knowledge
  • Who will help us
  • Where do we go
  • What do we do
  • Legal rights


How We Will Help (Money Wise)

  • Providing information and educating refugees at country borders (between Syria and Turkey, Turkey and Serbia)
    • Where to go
    • What to do

Our Approach

“Not more aid, better aid”   

      Aid. Such a small word with a huge meaning. Aid can simply mean help, but also a material given to someone who is in need of it. In response to any humanitarian crisis (anywhere in the world), aid is the first source that everyone looks to as the solution. With aid viewed as a solution, it is crucial to be mindful about what is happening in order for it to actually become a solution. “Not more aid, better aid”, is a parallel phrase to the quote, “Quality over quantity.” With higher quality in the aid that is being given to refugees, better results will rise to the surface, leading to an effective process in which aid is the solution.

What exactly is better aid?

      It’s all in the evidence. Using rigorous evidence from previous instances where refugees were attempted to be helped and forming a program to achieve it. Many factors play a role in achieving it such as targeting to help refugees in the fundamental areas which are needed for one to rebuild their life. Other factors include: cost efficiency and results. It helps answer the question of “What works?” and “What doesn’t?”.

      New ideas are fostering in ways to help refugees, but the question is how are we going to be the most effective? It’s important to reflect on the past and to learn from it, so that we can plan for the future, but also doing it now, which is a true present. With the opportunity to create new ideas with one another, having the right balance between what we feel which is what drives us, and with what we will do. It’s great that new ideas are brought to light in ways we can help refugees and it’s also great that we can have a greater impact on those by being mindful.
      Sometimes the hardest part in recovering from crisis such as this one is maintaining what has been rebuilt. This year, we are striving to respond to the crisis in a way that isn’t so much standing for the refugees the entire time, but helping them stand on their own by teaching them the best way to safely and effectively rebuild their life wherever they are. This also means to take the approach and plan for long term effect instead of instantaneous solutions for the refugees.

From November to May, we will embark on a journey to help Syrian Refugees rebuild their lives. Just like the way we will work our way through the year, we will work our way through the word REFUGEE. Each month will be focused on what each letter stands for and essentially it all ties back to what we’re doing for Syrian Refugees, how, and why.



Raise Awareness

November – The month of education


Empower Change

December – The month of action


Forge On

January – The month of enduring


Unconditional Love

February – The month of purpose


Genuine Actions

March – The month of service


Essence of Hope

April – The month of understanding


Everlasting Impact

May – The month of reflection

The Professionals

International Rescue Committee

The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover, and gain control of their future.

IRC 20/20

A program designed by the IRC to quickly and efficiently help Syrian Refugees achieve refuge and to maintain it. In this program they seek to rebuild lives, with more and faster rescue and relief, while taking big steps forward. Through this, the IRC has been able to impact incredible numbers of refugees, catering to their specific needs.

For more information, please visit:

“From Misaki”

In spite of everything. I still believe that people are really good at heart.” -Anne Frank

Lost in the confusion and lost in the complication is where I stand. I may educate myself on this crisis more and more everyday, but there is so much more to learn. I still feel the same every time though. Heartbroken, upset, confused, and just powerless. Powerless because there are so many innocent people to help in this world. It truly is a challenge to try to solve the problem and it’s a challenge to even accept something this intense and complex, but Interact 5170 you are the reason why the fulfillment of this challenge is possible. I’ll say it a million times over and over again. The impossible IS possible. The night’s dark but that is what sunrise is for. To bring new light every day. The heart breaks but that is what love is for. To heal and grow stronger every time. We forget we are humans but that is what you are for. To uncover the reasons why we exist in this life.

That tiny flame of hope, mustered from all tragedy and chaos is what will create the wildfire of change. In the pursuit of change, mistakes are made, questions are asked, and hope is easily lost. If there’s one thing I really want to emphasize, it’s that mistakes are painful, but what we learn from them are so rare and valuable. One can be reluctant to asking too many questions, but never stop asking them. The answers that are discovered can hold truth and that sparks discussion. Hope is easily lost, but if you ever feel like giving up, remember why you started in the first place. Remember what sparked that tiny flame of hope and why it still exist to this day. Remember that you are never alone in this fight. The fight for the right to live freely and safely, in humanity.

Remember that others are humans.
Remember that you are a human.
Tell others that they are humans.
Tell yourself…Me The Human.

Interact 5170,
Sky is not the limit, it is only the beginning.
Let’s fly

All my love,

Misaki Otani
International Coordinator 2016-2017