Who we are

Operation Refugee Child was started by a group of mothers who wanted to take action to alleviate the suffering of refugee children.  In 2015 Operation Refugee Child was launched to distribute backpacks filled with essential supplies to bring comfort, safety and warmth to refugee children throughout the world.  

about the founder

At the time the war began, my family and I were living in Amman, Jordan. One week before the first attack occurred, we were in Syria (after a visit in Lebanon). It was during this time I witnessed firsthand the casualties and aftermath of the air strikes. Syrians were fleeing their country. I didn’t know it at the time, but what I was witnessing was to become what we now know as the largest refugee crisis of our time. Thousands of people were making their way to the Jordanian border, and thousands more were dying. The atrocities moved me to my core. I couldn’t continue to watch events unfold, and not do something, anything!

Jordan winters are especially brutal, reports had surfaced that children were indeed freezing to death. I was compelled to start my own winter drive, collecting jackets, accepting blankets, and clothing. I did this all across Amman and sent these things to the families placed in camps. Shortly thereafter my family and I began preparing to transition back Stateside. I continued to follow the conflict in Syria closely. I read and watched report after report of our brothers, sisters, and children being murdered at the hands of political leaders with their own agendas, in a war they never asked for. Again, I was overwhelmed by the feeling of helplessness, but this time it was different, this time Aylan’s lifeless body washed up on a beach. I cried for him as if he were my own. I cried for him, for my children, and for humanity, which failed him. Aylan replaced my feelings of helplessness with anger, and motivated me to act. I saw what could have been my children. Every child lost felt as if I had lost my own, there is no difference. Shortly thereafter I kissed my infant son, and three year old goodbye, and headed for Greece to volunteer.

The conditions in Greece were deplorable. Families had fled the war, survived the Aegean Sea only to find dry land, and nothing else. Winter was fast approaching. Humanitarian agencies couldn’t keep up with the number of refugees coming in. Greece was barely feeding it’s own people, and the refugees were left with nothing. Children were hungry, cold and bored. Parents were exhausted, some even suffering from PTSD. Baby formula and diapers, items so readily available to me (items I took for granted) were an impossible notion on the islands.

At that time, some refugees were walking to their asylum destinations. I remember every person I encountered pleading with me for a backpack or suitcase. Most of them only had a plastic grocery bag, to carry their belongings. I saw the need for essential aid and supplies, I also saw the need to help bring smiles to the children. It was Aylan who compelled me to volunteer in Greece, and it was the children and desperate mothers caring for them who motivated me to start Operation Refugee Child. I have since made additional trips to Greece, and I continue to work tirelessly at home through my nonprofit to help the refugees. It’s a duty I feel we all owe to the Migrants, and it’s a duty we all owe to humanity.

 

Founder and President, Gader Ibrahim

Founder and President, Gader Ibrahim

With out our hard working volunteers, ORC would not be where it is today!