On Saturday a group of volunteers from our BISH community assisted Year 12 Maryam in completing her project Home Transformation in collaboration with Amaanah Refugee Services.
Maryam explains more here:
"When I started work on the Home Transformation project, I approached Amaanah Refugee Services. I was familiar with the work they do as I had volunteered for them before and I had seen videos of a home transformation and was instantly sold on the effectiveness of the program. Their then new CEO, Jida Nebulsi, agreed to visit our school and speak in an assembly to help me kick off the fundraising part of the campaign. Over the next few months, along with help from Dr. Brawner, I was able to reach the target amount needed to fund a transformation.
The next phase included recruiting volunteers and co-ordinating a date. After another couple of weeks, these logistics were in place. Finally last Saturday, two shifts of volunteers from our BISH community turned up with rolled up sleeves and big hearts to scrub toilets, install curtains, assemble furniture, fix plumbing and haul old furniture to the curb.
The apartment we were assigned belonged to a single refugee mum who resides with her two little children. Solange was taken out for the day by an Amaanah team member and we got to work. When we reached the apartment, at 7am, the first job was to clean up the place before the U-haul arrived with new furniture, picture frames and rugs etc. After a few moments of overwhelming thoughts on ‘where to start…’ we divided ourselves into teams and took on different areas in the apartment. After a couple of hours, the apartment had already started to look brand new! Next up was assembling the furniture. Again we took up different areas in the apartment and got on with the task on hand. After only a few minor mishaps(!) and another couple of hours of hard work from our sweat-drenched volunteers, the apartment looked truly ‘transformed’.
As a fresh team of volunteers arrived, we got busy again with organizing closets, hanging pictures and a big final clean up!
It was an emotional moment for all of us to see the difference we had been able to make. Now all that was left to do was to wait for Solange to return home to receive her surprise. We left it to the Amaanah staff to welcome her and record her reaction before we went up again to meet her. The look on her face and the overwhelming gratitude she expressed was enough to make us want to do this over and over again. We cannot change the world with one act but I think we were able to make a real difference in someone’s world that day.
My heartfelt gratitude goes to all of the volunteers; Deborah and Matthew Harvey who came filling in on such short notice, and Burhan and Charlotte who took time out of the insanely packed week with several IA’s due.
I would especially like to thank all of the teachers who took time out of their busy schedules to help out on Saturday. Mr Butcher who came eager to help during the morning shift, and didn’t stop working for all four hours! Miss Hobson, Miss Beattie, Dr Hidden, Miss Bennett, Mr and Mrs Morgan, and most importantly Sam and Lucas. We couldn’t have asked for a better team!
Last, but not the least, I want to thank my family for helping me in the vast amount of work that was needed in the co-ordination and fund raising leading up to Saturday’s, and also for helping out on the day.
There are many photos and videos of the day taken by a photographer from Amaanah, here are the few we took on our phones."
We are incredibly proud of Maryam, this is outstanding and impressive achievement, providing an opportunity to give the surprise of a lifetime to single mothers who arrive through the refugee resettlement process. We highly commend Maryam for making a difference, raising funds, awareness and recruiting a team to make this transformation possible!