Project Refugee Smiles

Volunteers from Project Refugee Smile watch Turkish residents take to the street during the coup.
Farris Barakat

It’s been an eventful few days for Raleigh native Farris Barakat. He’s in southern Turkey, working with Project Refugee Smiles, a volunteer group that provides dental care to Syrians in refugee camps.

Dr. Sarah Arif of Cleveland and Farris Barakat help a boy at the temporary Syrian American Medical Society dental clinic at the Al-Salaam School in Reyhanli.
Alena Advic

Months before his neighbor barged into his Chapel Hill apartment and fatally shot him, his wife and his sister-in-law, Deah Barakat had decided he wanted to help people escaping the war in Syria.

Deah, a 23-year-old student at the University Of North Carolina School Of Dentistry, had seen and heard about the escalating violence ravaging parts of his parents’ native country, so he called a dentist who was running clinics for displaced Syrians, and he told him: he wanted to take Americans to the Middle East and treat refugees.