QS Minneapolis Update #1

The past 3 nights have been filled with explosions, flames shooting into the night sky, and sirens, sirens, sirens. My wife and I live just two blocks from Lake Street in Minneapolis where protests have been followed by fires, violence, and looting.

I watched the cellphone video of the death of George Floyd as passersby asked police to let the handcuffed man, held down on the asphalt with a knee on his neck, breathe. I could hardly breathe as I watched. That viral video of the incident sparked these nights of explosions, flames, and sirens.

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Our COVID-19 Response

COVID-19 has overturned our world, contorting our best efforts to adjust to this unpredictable threat.

These are not normal times. In fact, it is too early to know what the "new normal" could possibly be.

BUT, there are some expert teachers around us in these unnormal times. In Jordan, Syrian refugees have 8 years of the not-normal. Homes gone, friends lost, education evaporated. And Jordanian girls and boys who work for a couple of dollars a day, who go to bed hungry every night – never enough money or food.

They have taught us so much more than we ever could have...MORE

Grassroots Healthcare

On a visit to Damascus this December with the Questscope team, I met three Syrian physicians providing primary medical care in some of the most challenging locations in Syria. I asked them what it was like working in remote areas with patients, families, and communities with such incredible need.

Yes, of course, they said, they could do with better equipment and more access to important medicines. But I was surprised by how much they pointed to education and basic health literacy as overlooked factors affecting their patients.

All of us were shocked when Dr. Ziad told us...MORE

Samson Fled Syria in the Dead of Night

When ISIS fighters came to Samson's street, his mom told her 10-year-old boy to run and hide.

"I watched them set fire to burn down our house," said Samson.

That night, Samson and his family fled from Syria to Jordan. To be safe. To try to hope again. Like 90% of refugees, Samson's family does not live in a refugee camp. They live "on their own" in the southern port city...MORE

Three Tasty Middle Eastern Recipes

 

Tabbouleh

3 bunches parsley chopped very fine without stems
1 medium onion chopped very fine
2 large tomatoes cut into small pieces
¼ cup fine burghul
2 teaspoons dry mint
Salt & pepper to taste
Lemon, fresh squeezed, about ¼ cup
Olive...MORE

From Child Bride to Star Student

Rahaf lives in Mleeh — a far-flung village in rural Jordan. Life can be hard here. It's hot and dusty. Water is scarce. And people have to work hard to eke out a living.

Most families move around a lot to find seasonal work in farming. Which makes it pretty much impossible for kids to stay in school. There's also a lot of pressure on impoverished families to marry their daughter off as soon as possible to a man who can provide for her, even if he's 20 (or even 30!) years older.

Families who cannot afford to feed or educate their daughter are sometimes faced with the...MORE

What it means to be a refugee

I thought a lot about this letter before I sat down to write it. Where to start, when to start, and many other questions came to my mind. Then, I decided to start from the point when I realized that I was a refugee, living in a refugee camp.

I grew up in the Baqa’a Refugee Camp in Jordan, and I still live there today. Baqa'a Camp was one of six emergency camps set up in...MORE

Way to Go, Graduates!

We have 400 reasons to celebrate this month...

...because 400 wonderful young men and women just graduated from our Non-Formal Education (NFE) program in Jordan!

This alternative learning program enables out-of-school youth to continue their education to the compulsory 10th grade level and continue on to vocational training or re-enroll in the formal education system.

These young men and women are in search of a significant life and a circle of people who believe in them. They have dreams, but without an education it is almost impossible to move from...MORE

On the Road in Idlib, Syria

Should I stay under bombs? Or should I flee into the unknown?

3 million people in Idlib, Syria face this question today. Right now. Most are citizens caught up in a deadly contest for control of this ancient agricultural province — waiting out what the United Nations has called the last battle of the Syrian conflict. Intermittent cease-fires since September of 2018 gave some respite, but now fighting is escalating nightmarishly.

There aren’t enough doctors. There isn’t enough water. There aren’t enough...MORE

Let's Zumba!

Sara could feel the beat before she saw the action.

She walked into a packed room with women of all shapes and sizes dancing to heart-thumping music. The instructor had an infectious energy and welcomed everyone to participate – even a nervous first-timer like Sara. It felt more like a dance party than a workout class!

Zumba is a Latin-inspired dance workout that’s one of the most popular exercise classes in the world – and one of the most popular activities at our Youth Center in the Za’atari Refugee Camp.

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