From March 24 to April 2, a unique group of volunteers came together in the community of Ghor Al Safi, Jordan, to build two homes in that community through Habitat for Humanity Jordan. The group consisted of 12 women from Harvard University in the United States and 12 from Dar Al-Hekma College in Saudi Arabia.
While the primary goal of the build was to assist Habitat beneficiaries in Ghor Al Safi, one of the poorest communities in Jordan, the project was also structured as a cultural exchange between women of the United States and Saudi Arabia. The exchange provided a unique opportunity to bring students from each school together for the common purpose of building a home through Habitat for Humanity.
Over the 10-day trip, students spent their evenings participating in structured cultural and interfaith exchange programs; their days singing, laughing, and discussing differences and commonalities; and in the end, completed the construction of two homes.
A student at Dar Al-Hekma College in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Sondos Alizera was quick to leap at the chance to take part in a Habitat for Humanity build in the neighboring country of Jordan.
“I got interviewed [for a position on the trip], and I told them that I always wanted to help people,” Alizera said. “And this was a step towards that.
“I like to meet people who are well-rounded and open to learning,” she added. “People need to accept each other’s cultures. Everyone should know about each other.”