Dear Parents and Friends,
My name is Ori Shaham and I’m the Rosh Chinuch (youth educational leader) for Hashomer Hatzair USA. Three weeks ago I joined the 11th and 12th Hashomer Hatzair delegations to the TESCO refugee camp in Przemysl, which is on the Polish border with Ukraine. Volunteering with these delegations in the Hashomer Hatzair children’s center was perhaps the most meaningful thing I have ever taken part in, and I feel so fortunate to have been able to join.
I wanted to share some of my experiences and reflections with you all. Whatever I can’t describe in words, I hope the pictures and videos will do some justice :) There is a lot here, so I’ve split it up into sections. Feel free to scroll and look through as you wish.
The work we’ve done in the children’s center and our humanitarian aid in Ukraine has been possible because of the generosity of our community. Going forward, we also plan to create a youth center within Ukraine, in Kharkiv, to help with the rebuild of the city. Many of you have donated to make this possible already. If you would like to donate again or spread the word, you can do so here: https://campshomria.com/blogs/news/yachad-for-ukraine.
After 30 hours of flying and four different flights (I’d come initially from Milwaukee!), I was greeted by the warmest people, and I knew I was right at home with fellow Shomrimot :) Our delegations consisted of about half of people who were in Hashomer Hatzair directly, while others had heard about the work we were doing and joined on. We had volunteers in our group from Israel, Russia, the Ukraine, France, and Brazil! I was joined by Paul, Masha, Iris, Dvir, Carmel, Max, Netta and Netta, Yoni, Sabrina, Gabriela, and Andre. Some particular people I wanted to highlight were Masha and Carmel, two volunteers in the center who had both been there running Hashomer Hatzair’s work for over two months. They are both incredible people and the center could not have run as it did without them.
A picture with the eleventh delegation.
A moment with Carmel, from Hashomer Hatzair Israel.
A picture with the 12th delegation in front of the center. Masha is second on the bottom row and Carmel is second to right on the top row.