“Would you like to volunteer at Aleppo NGO? Yes, of course I would like to,” I answered during my interview with Birth Right Armenia. I have applied at this organization to do volunteering for a couple of months and during the interview they told me about Aleppo NGO.
I was a refugee myself in the Netherlands after fleeing from Iraq and I have always wanted to work with refugees. When I finished my bachelor of law, I applied for a volunteering job far away from my hometown in the Netherlands. They wanted to give me the job, but they couldn’t pay me the round trips to work by train or car. It would be difficult for me since I don’t have any income as a starter. They preferred someone living nearby and my dream of working with refugees didn’t come true. Many years later I applied at Birth Right Armenia and they told me that there are many Syrian-Armenian refugees living in Armenia. I can speak Arabic, I have been a refugee myself and I love to work with an NGO that helps refugees, so the match was made very quickly.
At first, I had no idea what my tasks will be at Aleppo NGO, especially because I didn’t mind what I would do there. I am open for anything so I can learn and give as much as I can, but on my first day I understood I will be writing articles for their website. Before even writing my first article my job description changed into social media manager. Aleppo NGO had started Aleppo Cuisine and it was quite new, so it needed all the attention on Facebook, Instagram and TripAdvisor. I made a social media plan and soon enough I was checking off as much as possible on the list. I also contributed in the video’s they made, by preparing the script, giving directions to the cameraman and helping out in the editing.
The fact that I am working in a place where Syrian-Armenians gathered was comforting for me. I could speak Arabic and that made me feel at home. My Armenian is not so fluent, because I have just started learning the language, almost three months ago. I usually speak English and the moment people realize I speak Arabic; a big smile appears on their face and they love to have a conversation with me.
I have met the most kind and loving colleagues at Aleppo NGO. They gave me the feeling of friendship and not that much of colleagues. The time went by very quickly. I am very happy and lucky I have met them during my period in Armenia, because that made my working days even more interesting. I hope my participation has helped even though just a little.
I will miss you all very much and hope to see you again soon.
Raya Yacoub has been a volunteer at Aleppo-NGO through Birthright Armenia fund. We express our gratitude to Raya for her active, devoted and interesting volunteering and wish success in all her future endeavors.