How Team Humanity USA Started
In 2014 Ayat’s life took an unexpected turn after volunteering at Zaatari Refugee Camp. Zaatari is the largest camp for Syrian refugees that has gradually evolved into a permanent settlement and is located at the border of Syria and Jordan. There she connected with many families and witnessed the devastating impact the war had on 80,000 of the world’s most vulnerable people. Yaseen, an 8-year-old boy stood shyly smiling behind several children with a warm gentle sparkle in his eyes that Ayat could never forget. She noticed his right arm was amputated and was determined to see what life looked like through Yaseen’s eyes. While in Damascus, Yaseen flew from a missile shell that tore parts of his left upper limb while trying to run for safety and shelter with his family to a nearby home. Yaseen’s story was one of thousands of children that were left with disabilities. Upon returning back to her home in Chicago, her view of the world completely changed. Life could never be the same. Ayat knew she would dedicate and spend the rest of her life making a difference in the lives of children and families fleeing conflict and living in poverty all over the world.
She continued to travel immensely, volunteering at several camps that helped to protect people recovering from war. In 2015, while volunteering in Lesvos, Greece, which at that time was the epicenter for the refugee crisis sweeping Europe. There the real crisis had just begun. There were no large organized groups of help, just several small groups of volunteers who helped receive thousands of refugees a day arriving on dinghy boats and completely soaked wet, freezing, and disoriented. Witnessing nothing like this before she was completely overwhelmed and devastated by the situation. Many were not fortunate enough to make it safely and survive.
Ayat vowed that she would continue to do anything possible to instill hope and happiness back in the lives of people and therefore continued to travel to various camps helping people suffering from crisis all over the world. In 2018 she returned back to Lesvos, Greece after hearing how neglected and overcrowded Moria Refugee Camp was and how it became known as the “the worst refugee camp on earth.” She knew there would always be a need for more in the world and this is what inspired her to start Team Humanity USA in 2019.