When William Jabril Scannell saw on his dad’s Twitter feed that Qatar Foundation International was holding a clothing drive for Syrian refugees, he did not just ask questions. He decided to do something. “Nobody really deserves to be cold,” the eight-year-old says.
The crisis in Syria has caused over 2 million to flee their homes; well over a million have crossed into Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. Many have brought with them only what they can carry and lack even the most basic necessities. They are almost entirely dependent on international aid agencies and charities for food, shelter and clothing.
Jabril has attended Al-Wāḥa, the Arabic Language Village, for two summers. The Qatar Foundation has provided both scholarship money and a travel stipend in order to help Jabril make the long journey from Anchorage, Alaska to Bemidji, Minn., each summer to attend Al-Wāḥa. The clothing drive was one way that Jabril has used his experience at Al-Wāḥa to educate others about Arabic speaking countries.
After speaking to local churches and businesses, and even collecting donations from his classmates at Pacific Northern Academy, Jabril was able to collect 13 boxes of winter clothes. The 13 boxes were packed and shipped to Washington, D.C. where they were then transported by the Qatar Foundation to Syria.
Bill Scannell, Jabril's dad, says “I credit Concordia Language Villages for helping instill global values into my son. He’s a fine young man, and looks forward to next summer at Al-Wāḥa.” We expect that we will hear a lot more from Jabril in the years to come!