14Jul2024

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‘Powerful story’: W. Leyden teacher spent summer helping Syrian refugees

Here is a story that appeared in the Chicago Tribune about one of our recent volunteers in Greece. She talks about what motivated her to volunteer her to go to Greece and the challenges facing the refugees there. The article starts her, then follow the link to read the complete story.


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West Leyden High School math teacher Ayesha Shedbalkar said she had been aware of the plight of those affected by war in Syria, but it took one famous image to move her to action.

“I mean I knew what was happening,” she said. “I don’t think I had the urge to do anything until I saw that picture.”

That was the photo of Aylan Kurdi, a toddler who drowned with his mother and brother in efforts to flee Syria in September 2015. The Syrian Center for Policy Research estimates that more than 470,000 people have been killed in the Syrian civil war that began five years ago.

“It’s sad that it took a picture of a dead boy on a beach to make it real to me,” she said. “But I think it was then that I started to really pay attention to what was happening.”

Click here to read full article.

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