Meet our dear friend, Maher. He was born in Iraq and has fond memories of his childhood, especially playing soccer in the streets with his friends. His dream was to be a pro soccer player. As he sat in his classes at school, his mind would often wander to the field.
But eventually, when Maher was in middle school, tensions increased so much in his city that he could no longer go to school or play soccer with his friends.
"I have experienced healing and hope and I want others to experience this too!" - Maher
When One afternoon when Maher was a young teenager, he noticed a man walking down the street. A van pulled up next to this man, opened the door, and pointed a gun. The gunshots rang in Maher's ears and echoed through the street.
Eventually the violence was so bad that Maher's family decided to leave everything behind and move to a neighboring country. The transition was difficult. Because Maher had already missed a few years of school, attempting a new school system was overwhelming. He decided to work to help his family.
When we met Maher, we were thankful for his ability to speak English. When he was a child he had taught himself English by watching American movies. He began assisting us by coming with us to visit refugee families and helping with logistics for some of our projects. As he worked with us we learned his story and we were able to help him process his experiences and heal.
Maher's compassion and love for people amazed us. Soon he began to visit refugee families in his own time and tutor their children, helping them with their school work! They absolutely adored him!
After seeing him work hard with us for two years, we encouraged him to take an opportunity to get some training in the United States. But being in a foreign country didn't stop Maher from serving and loving others. He quickly got involved with organizations in the US that assist refugees. He would visit refugee families, help to teach English, and even mentor and coach a soccer team for Syrian boys that had recently immigrated from the Middle East.