Student club provides humanitarian aid for refugees
Houston is home to many groups and non-profits that offer humanitarian aid for refugees, and the University has its own organization in Refugee Advancement through Humanitarian Aid.
RAHA Houston, is a student-led organization on campus whose aim is to provide care, aid and awareness to those affected by the refugee crisis.
“RAHA started by two of my friends, they wanted to start an organization that could work with refugees in Houston and combine a lot of aspects of refugee aid,” said President Nadia Nasim, a civil engineering senior. “I started out as secretary my first year, then I was education chair my second year, and now I’m president.”
Nasim said that RAHA Houston consists of two parts, education and aid. Education involves learning about the different refugee crisis’ around the world, whether they are getting media attention or not.
“A lot of times they’re sensationalized in the media and stuff,” Nasim said. “But here you actually get to meet refugees, hear their stories, hear how different every refugee is, and I think it will give every student a different perspective.”
Aid comes from the fundraising RAHA Houston does for organizations that work on the field and areas of crisis, as well as volunteering with refugees here in Houston.
“Honestly, even though we’re trying to help refugees, a lot of times it does help students as well,” Nasim said. “You get to see a very different kind of perspective, and you also get to kind of humanize refugees.”
Every month, RAHA Houston has a theme that they like to focus on, and this month was Education for Refugees. On Sept.19 the organization held an education panel about Kashmir, a state of India that is one of the most militarized zones in the world right now.
One of the programs that RAHA participates in every month is “Plant it Forward,” where they help refugees and volunteer on farms that train them to make their own sustainable urban farming businesses. There is also “Helping Hands,” where they sort donations that go out to refugees.
“I really like Plant it Forward. It’s really therapeutic and they have some really cool vegetables, and that’s really fun always,” said Nasim. “My favorite part would be meeting a lot of people who are passionate about the cause.”