“Thank you again,” Julia F. ’22 said in a recent Diversity Club announcement. “Your donations will support individuals and families from Afghanistan who make Baltimore their home.”
For three weeks, from November 15 through December 3, the Diversity Club encouraged students and families across both divisions to donate toiletries and kitchen supplies based on grade level. Under the guidance of Director of Global Outreach Sandry Sachar, the students asked for toothbrushes and toothpaste from the Fifth and Sixth Agers, shampoo and conditioner from the Seventh and Eighth Agers, and dish soap and sponges from the Ninth and the Tenth Agers. In the Middle School, families were responsible for bar soap, deodorant, oven mitts, laundry materials, and hand sanitizer, among other items.
By the end of the drive, community response was overwhelming, yielding more than:
411 tubes of toothpaste
74 containers of dish soap
96 sticks of deodorant
89 bottles of hand sanitizer
59 bottles of laundry detergent
79 can openers
Together, the community also gathered materials for 100 complete sets of shampoo (108 donated) and conditioner (113). Last week, the Diversity Club packaged the toiletries into 135 toiletry kits for refugee families, which are scheduled to be delivered in the next week or so and distributed through the School’s partnership with the IRC.
In conjunction with The New Beginnings Project and learning about upheaval in Afghanistan, students in the Diversity Club also met with Khadeja Farahmand, the chief of staff at the Baltimore Office of Equity and Civil Rights who left the country herself at just 22 years old.
During a student leadership luncheon with Farahmand on December 2, students had the opportunity to hear her story and ask questions about how she finally arrived in Baltimore. Throughout the discussion, Farahmand shared that she fled her small village in Afghanistan due to social and educational injustices. At just 16 years old, she began studying law in India, where she did not know either of the country’s official languages, English or Hindi.
“Despite the language barrier, she managed to learn enough to graduate top of her class. Upon graduating, she returned to Afghanistan looking forward to practicing law. Her return was not what she expected. She was not allowed to practice law, and after witnessing many atrocities in her home village, she was forced to flee to America as a refugee,” Diversity Club members Julia F. '22 and Caleb W. ’22 said.
Thank you to all who spread the word or donated to The New Beginnings Project, including the members of our very own Diversity Club. Thank you also to Khadeja Farahmand for sharing her story! Our student leaders said that the discussion inspired them to keep working to support refugee families struggling through tough times, and they look forward to continuing these efforts through virtual and in-person collaborations as the year continues.
“This conversation educated us on the conditions that many have to go through and renewed our passion to help refugees throughout the world. The conversation inspired us to pursue our passions and never give up,” Jansen C. ’22 said.