‘Folks for a World that Works’ is OurNet’s series of brief, but inspiring mini-interviews featuring fascinating people in and around our community. Following on from last week’s interview with Chukumeka Maxwell, we now turn to Baraa Kouja – Founder and Director of From Syria With Love…
Having gained the right to work in the UK for a year, Baraa’s hard work, passion and determination have created projects, which have raised over £40,000 and have been featured on over 35 BBC and local radio stations.
His work with From Syria With Love raises funds and ‘”more importantly” awareness about the Syrian refugee crisis, helps people in most need where there’s a lack of NGOs, and takes absolutely no management fees from donations.
He’s also been showcased in 25 local, national and international newspapers including The Guardian, and was shortlisted from among 65,000 hopefuls for Arab Hope Makers.
Baraa, thank you for taking the time to talk to us and being one of the ‘folks for a world that works’, can you begin by telling us about yourself and your big passion?
I originally come from Syria and now living in the UK where I did my M.Sc. in IT management for Business. My passion has always been about achieving the highest possible level of social justice and connect those who need help with those who can help whether they are informed or not.
What would a ‘world that works’ look like to you?
A world where there’s equal opportunities, no racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia or any form of ignorance. A place where people live and let live.
What is stopping us from creating a ‘beautiful world we all know in our hearts is possible’?
Mainly greed and stupidity: the deep meaning of stupidity where we don’t actually realize how disgusting it is to see the huge gap between people in two parts of the world, even within the same part, loads of food stored and stocked, lots of empty houses, hungry people sleeping rough on the street; food waste, consumption, people who don’t really care or bother to put effort.
And this to be honest, is not necessarily fixable. It might have reached over complicated levels where the best thing one can do is not think about it. Like the questioning, ever lasting debate about the universe, about god existence, neither side of the argument could be proven to be correct.
Maybe it’s not as black and white as it should be. There’s definitely a better world, but no one really knows if this is even applicable or doable.
Contact Baraa at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hear Baraa and others at a public talk on the Syrian refugee crisis, given in Devon 2016.
Left: An exhibition poster for ‘From Syria With Love’
Right: Baraa Kouja in action as public speaker on the issues around the Syrian refugee crisis.