During this time of the year, it seems natural to reflect on what matters. Thanksgiving allowed us to spend time with loved ones and share our gratitude for the things we may take for granted. The new year brings promise of a fresh start and the opportunity to prioritize what we value most in life.
What does ISA value? ISA values giving back to the local community and providing out of the classroom learning experiences for its participants. These values have shaped a longstanding tradition of ISA volunteer days around the world. ISA volunteer days are organized by ISA on-site staff with local community partners, and are a way for ISA students to volunteer their time and energy in order to get to know their greater abroad community.
This fall in North Africa and the Middle East, ISA students and service-learning participants in Meknes, Morocco and Amman, Jordan were able to give back through efforts to support refugees in their abroad communities. While ISA students can study the history of the Arab world or Peace and Conflict Resolution in the classroom, there is so much to give, share, and learn when volunteering in your local community.
North Africa and the Middle East
On September 23rd, ISA students and service-learning participants in Meknes, Morocco were able to celebrate a special Eid Aladha. Eid Aladha, or the Festival of the Sacrifice, honors Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son with the sacrifice of a halal animal. The ISA Meknes students and participants were not only able to experience this important religious holiday with local families, but they were also able to bring joy and happiness to four Syrian refugee families by donating three sheep.
This donation allowed these families to join millions of Muslims in celebrating this holy day. The happiness that the ISA students and service-learning participants brought to the family’s faces was priceless in the midst of the turmoil they are living in.
On November 27th, ISA students and service-learning participants in Amman, Jordan, in collaboration with the Middle East University (MEU) and The Princess Taghrid Institute for Arts and Handcrafts Development (PTI), organized and led a fun day for Palestinian refugee children. PTI is dedicated to providing professional development and training to orphaned and abandoned teens, especially teen girls.
In celebration of Children’s Day and Forgiveness day, students from ISA, MEU, and PTI invited 30 Palestinian refugee children to spend the day participating in fun activities. PTI has taught a group of teens film making and production skills, and they were able to utilize their newly formed film making skills and documented the ISA volunteer day.
In addition to ISA volunteer days in North Africa and the Middle East, ISA Service-Learning offers full-time and Study + Service-Learning programs in Meknes, Morocco and Amman, Jordan. ISA Service-Learning connects dedicated people with over 100 local non-profit organizations, schools and clinics that have identified needs and projects to which participants can contribute their time and strengths. Through guided reflection, ISA Service-Learning programs will allow participants to understand how communities across the globe grapple with the complexities of real-world issues.
Get more information about ISA’s Service Learning Programs.