BYU Care Week includes benefit night and cultural fair to aid refugees


[Photo provided by Melena Warden]
BYU student Melena Warden gives out balloons to Afghanistan children while volunteering in a refugee camp on the Island of Lesvos. (Melena Warden)
A Refugee Story, a benefit night and cultural fair including musical performances and speakers, is one of the many events during BYU Care Week that is raising money to help refugees.

Arabic and Middle Eastern studies student Melena Warden said this event is a way for people to interact with refugees through music and stories. Attendees will be able to meet and talk to refugees at the event.

“Additionally, there will be organizations attending the event that work with refugees in Utah,” Warden said. “We just wanted a way for people to get more exposed to refugees as a whole, as well as on an individual level.”

There will be six different performances as well as videos, pictures and speakers talking about refugees.

“The event will kind of follow the journey of a refugee. From leaving their homeland to resettlement,” Warden said. “It will explain who refugees are and that they are real people.”

This event is being sponsored by the BYU Humanitarian Club. It is the first annual event and is the first time an event like this has happened during Care Week.

The event idea was created by Matt Thurber, a junior studying global supply chain management, because he felt like almost everyone at BYU and in Provo wants to help refugees but don’t know how to get involved.

Thurber said there just haven’t been enough outlets nearby to have students becoming involved in the refugee crisis.

“Everyone knows they should help refugees,” Thurber said. “But people don’t realize they can actually do something. So I want this event to be eye-opening to people to help them get started in the process of helping.”

All proceeds will be donated to Lifting Hands International, a non-profit movement dedicated to helping refugees in the U.S. and abroad.

Students can get tickets for A Refugee Story at the WSC information desk for $5. There are also tickets available online. The event will take place on Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. in the Wilkinson Student Center Ballroom.

The event is one of many events being sponsored by BYU clubs this week during Care Week.

BYU clubs are putting on events all week long to help raise money for their favorite charities. Many clubs are donating the money they raise to the refugee crisis like the Humanitarian Club.

“The amount of refugee’s today is at its highest since World War II,” Thurber said.

There are 5 million more refugees in the world today than there were during 2015 and because of this BYU students are finally realizing that helping refugees is very important, Thurber said.

Steven Gilbert, an executive director over clubs for BYUSA, spoke about why he loves Care Week.

“Care Week is an opportunity for the clubs to give to the community and contribute to serve other. It’s important to me because I love to serve and it gives me an opportunity to think outside myself,” Gilbert said.

A list of all Care Week events and which clubs are sponsoring them can be found on the BYUSA Care Week Facebook page.

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