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Dinner party in the occasion of the International Volunteer Day (IVD) organized in Syria
24 December 2003

Damascus: More than 50 national and international volunteers, social workers and United Nations (UN) representatives celebrated the International Volunteer Day (IVD) in Yarmouk Palestinian Refugee camp near Damascus. IVD Syria took place in December 10th instead of December 5th.

The Women Program Center B, which is a kindergarten and vocational school run by social workers, hosted a dinner party to promote volunteering service in Syria. United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) sponsored the event.

After the UNRWA’s deputy field admin officer inaugurated the event the UNRWA’s field social service officer informed everybody that this is the first time that such a gathering has happened and asked all volunteers to introduce themselves.

Perhaps because it was the first time event of this kind, the evening turned out to be an informal, relaxed and a time humorous occasion. Volunteers, teachers, students and other professionals become acquainted, exchange ideas and opinions regarding volunteering in Palestinian refugee camps. It was interesting that everybody came with his or her own viewpoints, sometimes critical and sometimes humorous about the experiences of volunteering.

This introductory session brought to our attention case of Ayad a young Palestinian enabled (blind) volunteer who was born in Yarmouk refugee camp and now working in various refugee camps near Damascus. He told us that during Ramadan he was able to collect much food for the refugees from hotels and restaurants in Damascus. Ayad’s courage to overcome his own challenges to the benefits of others and convince local business owners to donate food to the refugees impressed all of us. Ayad’s success is an example that can do nothing but inspire others to become involved in volunteering.

Following initial introductions and speeches Palestinian refugees played music, including folk music of Palestinian origin, which led quite spontaneously to lessons in Arab folk dance. After very enjoyable and cheerful time participants had dinner together and all volunteers received presents from UNRWA.

The celebration took place in an extremely enthusiastic participative atmosphere