Ramadan kareem! I just returned from a beautiful trip to The Gambia with Penny Appeal, where I had the opportunity to visit all of their projects on the grounds. I witnessed first hand the impact your donations have on the people, and now, I'm taking everything I've seen, and sharing it with you all to raise funds together for this sustainable lifelong cause! 


WHAT? Help us empower and foster independence in The Gambia through funding income generation projects that promote sustainability, independence and empowerment for communities in the rural country. 

WHY DONATE? Your donation will provide an ongoing sustenance to not only the current community, but future generations to come. Farmers earn a portion for income generation through sales in the local market, and keep a portion of the crop for food supply. This income helps families pay for childhood educations, support their family meals, provide a home, and overall support the wellbeing of the communities. 

AMOUNT? We are seeking to raise $15,000 to contribute to the development of Horticulture Gardens in the Gambia. For every $5,000 Penny Appeal can construct a new well in a village, providing nourishment and a sustainable water source for all of life's needs at the footstep of the community. For every $100,000, Penny Appeal can build a full Horticulture garden with irrigation systems.  

BACKGROUND INFORMATION: Located in Western Africa, The Gambia predominantly rural country with a population of roughly two million people. The country is largely dependent on agriculture, and unfortunately, food insecurity is prevalent as the region becomes increasingly susceptible to harmful climate events. This leaves many agricultural laborers with little work and few means of supporting their livelihoods. This was the case in Tamba Kunda, a rural town in the south of the country, close to the border with Senegal. Thanks to the help of Penny Appeal, the people of Tamba Kunda - especially farmers and agricultural laborers - now have a sustainable place to grow crops, and a way to secure their livelihoods with their horticultural garden, an initiative set-up and subsequently supported by Penny Appeal through the Feed our World program.

TESTIMONIES: Awn Gibba, a farmer describes the changes brought in by Penny Appeal -- "I earn money by selling the things I grow in garden, which means I can now afford to send my children to school. I can even afford to give them lunch money and some pocket money!"

JOIN US! Penny Appeal takes your small change, and makes a BIG DIFFERENCE with it. Join us in changing the lives of thousands in this beautiful ongoing project. Any donation, big or small, will most definitely make an impact. 

Wishing you peace,
Summer Albarcha


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Kids Activities in Tizaya Camp

Leading a treasure hunt, with all the children in the village 

Playing with Bubbles In Tizaya Camp

Pictured with Ala Hamdan to my right, and young girls Rozan and Wared

Onsur Syria Offices in Gaziantep, Turkey 

Team meeting!

In August of 2017, @OnsurSyria kindly offered me the opportunity to volunteer in the Tizaya Refugee Camp, situated in the outskirts of Hatay, Turkey at the borders of Syria, with the intention of promoting the campaign online to raise funds and awareness.

Not having done much research before traveling, I pictured that the camp would consist of U.N symboled tents, with care packages and employees in special vests throughout. As our van pulled up to a dirt road in a field with the team of volunteers, a huge crowd of children ran up. The young girls, ages four to eight, were so excited to bring us out of the van and into visiting their makeshift homes, and for us keep them company for the week. I was shocked to know that we had arrived to our destination-- it was a farm, with cows, chickens, and goats, surrounded by makeshift homes, made of cement walls, and aluminum roofs. The ground was a mix of grass, rocks and mud, filled with trash, broken glass, and pretty much anything unsafe for the dozens of barefoot children living in this neighborhood. We quickly learned that this had been the living condition for five years, with little care and maintenance by the residents, due to their high hopes of returning to their homes in Syria any day now.

With the few girls in my group, we resided in a trailer home, sharing a small bedroom that once belonged to a refugee family (who had head back to Syria a few days before our trip). I was super prepared for this trip, bringing along facial and body wipes, hand sanitizer, snacks, water-- you name it. As much as this sounds livable, even then, I was living in an extreme luxury that most people in the village did not have, and felt quite guilty. Of course, I shared all my products with the refugee girls living nearby and had them pick through whatever they liked from my suitcase of clothes and beauty products. I felt disheartened that I had not known earlier, and brought more luggage filled with these everyday products that brought them so much joy. 

When thinking about a refugee camp, it is easy to imagine a closed off camp with constant security and resources. But the reality was, these people had come by foot across the mountains bordering Syria and Turkey, and settled in this location. Not all refugee camps are as well known and publicized, making it harder for them to receive donations and resources. One of the things I really appreciate about @onsursyria is that they continue to bring a majority of the same people each time they make a 3 day trip to this camp. From the girl and boy scouts officers, to the photographers, the children remember the same faces and look forward to seeing them again. One of the main ways Onsur Syria helped was by bringing in more livestock with the donations in order to build a more sustainable lifestyle--with eggs, milk, cheeses and more coming from the animals. I know that I will return in the next opportunity I have, and that the team leaders around me are doing an amazing job at continuing to bring joy into this community, through your contributions.

As simple as it sounds, this was their story, and this was my experience in an unfamiliar place only heard of in the news for most of my life. This trip made me realize that the world is so much smaller than it seems, and opened my eyes to the impact of humanitarian work in the smallest ways. While my main duty at the camp was to take part in media projects to raise funds, I participated in as many ways as I could in social projects-- whether it be leading a group of kids on a treasure hunt, preparing dinner and dishes for the refugees, or having tea with the women in the neighborhood and being welcomed into their homes, I felt our trip gave a sense of purpose not only to us but to them as well. They were so inviting and welcoming into their homes, and would even dispute over who got to invite which girl over to talk to them about their stories. Ultimately, everyone wants to be heard, and feel that they have a mark in this world. I only hope that they will be able to find this sense of peace and harmony in their lives after all the turmoil they have been through.

P.S. Inshallah, I do have plans to take part in a new humanitarian trip this spring-- and I'm excited to share more about that in the coming weeks if all goes as planned!