Youssef Amakran (23, student Faculty of Social Sciences, volunteer)
“Children are always innocent. They haven’t asked for a war, they should just play and be carefree. So when I heard that 200 refugees would be accommodated on campus I immediately offered my help. Along with other volunteers I organized a football tournament every afternoon. Sports allow for unwinding of body and mind and it connects people. I experienced that myself during my travels through Morocco and Indonesia. Once you kick a ball together, it immediately creates friendly contact.
I don’t speak Arabic. A 12-year-old girl from Syria shared her story with me today using google translate. Wael is a 28-year-old man from Aleppo who worked as a sales manager. He showed me pictures of his house that is now completely destroyed. There is a woman who lost her husband in a bombing. Stories like this hit me, but I try not to ask too many questions. These people have to tell their story so often; therefore I wanted to offer them some distraction and fun.
My faith requires me to help people in need. By now, these people feel like friends. As with ‘Joed’, my little big friend. He’s 5. If I enter the playroom, he shouts: ‘Youssef, Youssef’.
Yesterday we took the kids to my first year ceremony. They stood in the centre of attention and enjoyed it to the fullest! My dream is that these kids stand in my place over 10 to 15 years. As I see it, they are the football players, doctors and judges of the future.
Can I take the opportunity to thank all the volunteers and especially Jon de Ruijter? Without them, we couldn’t have made it happen!”