Below are testimonies of people affiliated and partnered with Alcansa.
I have had the privilege of working with Alcansa to serve refugees in the United States. We have been able to partner with local resettlement organizations to make the transition process for refugees smoother. One of the highlights of my experience has been tutoring two Afghan women to improve their English. Their dedication to English learning and their courage in the face of difficult life circumstances has been a beacon of hope to me. As I watch refugees from all over the world struggle to normalize their lives again, I am encouraged by these women that I have met. Alcansa has provided hope for refugees rebuilding their lives in the United States.
I spent 12 months working in a coordinating role with Alcansa in Turkey. In that time, we distributed tens of thousands of food boxes, gave basic medical support to hundreds of people, and taught dozens of ladies how to sew in order to make a living for their families. It was heart-wrenching to see the level of desperation among the people we were working with, but so amazing to see the light in those same people’s faces when they received help from people they knew cared.
There’s two notable things I’ve learned from that time:
1) The people in Alcansa are doing a good work, and support that goes towards them truly goes towards making the world a better place.
2) The need is so much bigger than just Alcansa or any one of us can solve on our own. We all need to get involved. The refugee crisis isn’t just a Middle Eastern crisis, or a European crisis. It’s a human crisis. As human beings, we have a responsibility to love our neighbor and help each other, as much as is in our power. Alcansa is modeling the fulfillment of that responsibility very well.
I connected with Alcansa in the United States through the Hila Sewing Project, and got involved by simply providing transportation to sewing classes for several women from Afghanistan who live near my home. After the morning sewing class, I taught three women English in the afternoon. Over the summer, my nine year old daughter joined me in teaching their children as well. Through this relationship, it became apparent that one of the ladies needed medical care. We were able to connect her with a local medical clinic, Crossover, and she received the surgery she desperately needed. Working together, we really can make a difference by loving our neighbors.
I spent six weeks with the Alcansa community in Turkey. I have seen first hand the work that they are doing to aid those in need, in their community and the surrounding areas. Those that work with Alcansa are very compassionate and hard working people who truly care for others. The work that Alcansa is doing to help those who have been displaced from their homes is necessary and is being done very well.
I spent a fair amount of time working with Alcansa in Matachi, Chihuahua. While there, we focused primarily on providing resources and education to people living in rural areas. Our work provided an opportunity to make genuine connections with families and individuals. It was a privilege. Small towns with small populations like Matachi face real challenges that are best understood by its own residents. Keeping this in mind made all the difference as we collaborated with locals.
What’s most incredible about Alcansa is the way it is serving in a place where connections are made and stories are told. Different cultures come together in a beautiful display of partnership, compassion and love. Refugees are often eager to participate and help out in any way they are able, whether that be unloading boxes, translating, etc. It’s beautiful that Alcansa is set up in such a way that welcomes the refugees to help – that is what is most encouraging. To see and be a part of a partnership, a movement of people, seeking to serve, hand in hand.
Working with Alcansa over the summer of 2017 opened up my world in a way that will always leave an impact on me. I met refugees for the first time through the sewing class in Richmond, where I had the privilege of providing rides for the students who did not have cars. I also helped look after their children during the class. After that summer, I understood the challenge of adjusting to a new culture and language on a whole new level. At the same time, I was amazed and moved by the joy and community that surrounded the students in the sewing class.