A group of teachers from the American School Doha, the Qatar Academy and the Community College of Qatar recently took a trip to Romania for a week of volunteer work for the Habitat for Humanity.
ASD teacher Rebeka Fergusson-Lutz gathered the group of educators to help build and renovate houses for a struggling Roma community in Baltesti.
They were joined by Qatari ASD graduate Reem al-Wohaibi, invited by Fergusson-Lutz, who took the opportunity to work directly with local people in a developing country for the first time.
“I have always wanted to do something like this, so when the opportunity arose and despite my qualms, I accepted my friend’s offer,” she said.
“Going to the Roma community for the first time and witnessing their poor living conditions was definitely a shock for me,” she noted, adding: “I had only witnessed this sort of poverty on TV. Seeing these people in the flesh and the way they lived saddened me - it gave me even more motivation to fulfil the work we were there to do.”
Habitat for Humanity is an organisation that helps build homes for less fortunate people around the world and relies heavily on volunteers to carry out its work.
Al-Wohaibi explained: “I didn’t know what to expect but knew that it would entail doing construction work, with a team of people I haven’t met before, in fairly cold conditions and in a foreign country. It would be a far cry from my comfort zone and that of the majority of Qatari women.
“Witnessing the labourers working on projects around my country, I’ve always sympathised with them, being in a different country and away from their families and doing strenuous work daily. I wanted to gain some personal perspective to what these people, who are helping building my country, are going through. I also saw this challenge as an opportunity to test my strength and myself.”
The trip was made possible by Doha-based Al Jaber Engineering, who provided the money the team’s airfare to and from Bucharest.
“Having the support of Al Jaber was a huge blessing to us. Being able to go to Romania to serve others was a great way for us to celebrate Eid,” Fergusson-Lutz said, adding “we are really grateful that the directors at Al-Jaber put such value on these kinds of charitable projects.”
“I would definitely recommend this and hope this would not be the first and last time for me, abroad or in Qatar. Anyone can make a difference,” al-Wohaibi added.
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