Promoting Peace in Egypt
Projects for Peace 2016
When Hamdan Alameri BA ’18 was a child living in the United Arab Emirates, he visited Egypt with his family. While there, he witnessed something he had never seen before: homeless children begging for money. He was shocked and moved. “At that moment, I wanted to do something for them, but I didn’t know what,” he says.
Over the years, the image of those Egyptian street children stayed fresh in Alameri’s mind, even shaping his choice to major in economics. In 2015, he attended a presentation at Lewis & Clark about a national grant program called Projects for Peace. The initiative awards $10,000 grants to undergraduates to create and test their own ideas for building peace. Lewis & Clark has won a grant each year since the program’s inception in 2007. Alameri immediately knew what he needed to do.
He assembled a team of Lewis & Clark students composed of Reham Bahauddin BA ’16, Isabella Irtifa BA ’18, Jessica Rosenblatt BA ’17, and Burnley Truax BA ’17. Together, they designed a plan to partner with Resala Charities to create a program for orphaned children at a summer sleepaway camp outside of Cairo. “We thought having this project at a camp instead of in a classroom would be a big help,” Alameri says. “We wanted the kids to relax and enjoy the learning experience.”
The Lewis & Clark team organized their project into three weeklong sessions, each designed to teach teamwork, leadership, and goal achievement. During the sessions, youth ages 7 to 19 participated in art therapy, workshops, teamwork games, and conflict negotiation role-playing.
Alameri sees the impact of the program in its future potential. “I saw so many different small impacts, but I think they all add up,” he says. The program is expected to continue via Resala teachers and older youth in the camp. The team has also been brainstorming new projects to increase the bond between Resala Charities and Lewis & Clark.
“The happiness you could see in their eyes, from their smiles, was so rewarding,” says Alameri. “I felt we achieved our goals.”
—by Samantha Pratt BA ’20