News: US soldier volunteers with Syrian refugees on leave from Afghanistan
AMMAN, Jordan – Most soldiers fighting in a war-zone are eager to spend their much-deserved vacation time with friends and family; not so with Army Lt. Dan Jones. For the month of February, Jones will be volunteering with Syrian refugees in Amman, Jordan, on leave from the war in Afghanistan.
“A part of my job is to be exposed to ongoing humanitarian issues around the world, and after a certain point, I felt compelled to do more than being a passive witness to the catastrophic Syrian refugee crisis,” Jones said.
When asked how he reconciles being a soldier fighting in a war to humanitarian volunteer, he stated that he sees no contradiction.
“Whether I’m in uniform or acting in a civilian capacity, I firmly believe in helping people, and ultimately that is my overall aspiration,” Jones said.
The organization Jones is volunteering with is a coalition of Jordanian, Syrian, and ex-pats called Helping Refugees in Jordan (HRJ). The group was formed by Catherine Ashcroft, a U.K. citizen, in 2012. HRJ’s primary mission is to raise funds and procure critical supplies needed by the more than 550,000 refugees currently residing in Jordan.
In preparation for the trip, Jones conducted fundraising for donations of children’s clothing and financial contributions that will purchase much-needed items that will be delivered to refugee families in Jordan.
Volunteer activities that he will partake in while in Jordan will include sorting of donations and critical humanitarian items, as well as transport and delivery of these items during the first two weeks of February.
Additionally, he will spend time visiting and interacting with Syrian refugee children, many of whom have been traumatized by the ongoing violence in Syria. Many Syrian refugee children have not been enrolled in school for the past two years. Analysts of the conflict suspect that this suspension in education will have a major impact on the future of Syria.
Jones currently works for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers responsible for large-scale civil works reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan. He recently returned from deployment in January 2014.
His donation page is found at http://gogetfunding.com/project/helping-syrian-refugees-in-jordan.