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Soccer Balls to Syria

Mount Mary University Theology club organizes soccer ball drive to send to Syrian refugee camps

Students hold "Soccer Balls for Syria" packing party

How do you fit 25 soccer balls into two suitcases? That was a recent challenge for Mount Mary students, who had to deflate soccer balls in order to get them ready to send to Syrian refugee camps.


Michelle Hawkins

International Studies Major

Michelle has traveled to Jordan previously and hopes to volunteer again this summer helping Syrian refugees.

Syrian-American pediatric neurologist Dr. Tarif Bakdash is bringing the balls along with him to a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan on his medical mission trip March 18.

Bakdash, who works at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, wrote a book that describes his experiences serving people in the most desperate of circumstances in Syrian refugee camps. “Inside Syria: A Physician’s Memoir.” His efforts in the area are ongoing; he holds weekly Skype calls with a clinic in Syria and regularly travels to Jordan to work at refugee camps there.

Bakdash visited campus in Feburary; he urged students to take action, no matter how small. Students were motivated to form this soccer ball drive as a response to the profound need Bakdash described, said Jennifer Laske, a member of the Theology Department faculty. 

Media spots (video and stories)

  • Fox 6 Milwaukee. VIDEO: Soccer balls being sent from Milwaukee to Syrian refugees. (Mar 3)
  • CBS 58. VIDEO: Mount Mary University students deflate soccer balls to ship to refugee children. (Mar 3)