There are few things more appealing to the heart than the sight of children running and playing without a care, especially those who have endured traumatic experiences like being uprooted and placed in a totally new and different environment. After the exhausting, stressful experience of relocation, restoring a sense of normalcy and leisure to everyday life can go a long way.
Encouraging the beautiful spirit of resilience in partnership with local Muslim residents, Zakat Foundation of America (ZF) recently held a bountiful picnic for the local refugee community at Twin Lakes Park in Durham, North Carolina. While enjoying the picnic, Lama, a Syrian refugee child, exclaimed, “This is the best day in the USA for me!”
The picturesque location certainly offered the perfect site for a perfect day. The weather was welcoming, neither too hot nor too cold. During the picnic, more than 300 people attended, including around 100 children. More than 10 different varieties of food were prepared by local Muslim families from the surrounding area, and it was so plentiful that packaged leftovers were sent home with some of the families.
With the heart of the event being happiness for all, a bounce house, slides and a cotton candy machine were all rented to add to the relaxing atmosphere, and Turkish tea was also served for the parents in attendance.
At the end of a day of light-hearted fun, however, ZF volunteer Batul reported that she was startled when she saw many children running to the leftover water bottles. They filled their arms with as many as they could hold to take home. In the shock of the moment she realized that, for these families, even such a basic need as water – so often taken for granted – had been a scarce resource as they fled the danger in their homeland to make the long journey to America.
When people are abruptly and violently forced from their long-established homes, finding a new community is never an easy transition. As Syrian refugees continue to come to America, ZF extends a hand of comfort and support to ease their passage. And, with the help of its generous donors, ZF will continue to do so for as long as it may be needed.