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SOS at ASU guides refugees toward a brighter future

Students Organize for Syria helps refugee children adapt to life in America through education

Business freshman Kinan Moufti poses in front of the BSE Building on Friday, Sept. 16, 2016.

Business freshman Kinan Moufti poses in front of the BSE Building on Friday, Sept. 16, 2016.

Students Organize for Syria at ASU creates a sense of hope in child refugees through education and humanitarian efforts, despite the crisis in Syria.

SOS publicist Kinan Moufti, a business freshman, said their mission is to stand in solidarity with the people in Syria by doing the most that they can on their part, which mainly consists of three pillars: education awareness, advocacy and fundraising.

The group creates an environment for children to get caught up on their education by holding tutoring sessions every week for three hours. 

Moufti said he was surprised at how open and willing the children were to learn.

“They are willing to be educated, because I think their parents may tell them that this isn’t an opportunity that everybody gets,” Moufti said. “But what’s impressive about them is that they’ve been through so much with everything that’s happened in Syria and having to move all the way across the world.”

Moufti said any help or opportunity the children are given, they seem to be very willing and accepting of it.

“We believe that Syria right now is like an outlet for activism, so as educated students, we feel like we are in a very strong position to create social change,” Moufti said.

SOS, which started through ASU, gradually developed into its own individual identity as it partnered with other organizations at ASU.

Director of COAR at ASU Monique Tran, who teamed up with SOS last semester, said their organization is trying to figure out how they can better advocate for refugees and keep ASU students informed about what’s going on.

“There is a huge refugee population in Arizona, and I think a lot of people don’t know that,” she said. “So helping students spread awareness on campus is one of the things we’re also trying to do,”

Farhan Khera, director of R.I.S.E. at ASU, believes students are often overlooked as a group of individuals who aren’t able to make an impact.

“That stigma is often negative toward us and reduces the amount of initiative taken by students our age,” he said. “We do think that adds to our value that we are all students, and we are taking time out of our day and taking that extra step to go and make an impact on the children’s lives.”

Moufti said the relationship between the volunteer ASU students and refugee students is essential in helping the children adapt to their new life in a different country.

“Fortunately, a lot of us haven’t been in a situation like that,” he said. “The more we can make ourselves aware and realize how great the magnitude of it is, you can realize how much change you can impact yourselves.”

From meeting different Syrian families and young children that come here to the U.S. for refuge, Moufti said they created a bond between the students and refugees.

“We want them to become integrated and just be happy,” he said. “They’re just really resilient people, and we’re proud of them and we try to do as much as we can.”

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