Hind, a 9-year-old Syrian girl living in Jordan, has been orphaned for years already despite her young age. Her parents and grandfather were killed, and her grandmother takes care of her and her brother, Muhannad.
She’s in the Zakat Foundation of America’s (ZF) Orphan Sponsorship Program, receiving the support she needs to get an education. She goes to school and said she wants to be a doctor when she’s older so she can help the sick.
In a weeks-long field visit to Jordan and Turkey, ZF Outreach Coordinator Abdelhamid Omran had the opportunity to visit Hind, the beneficiary he had heard so much about.
His coworkers from the Amman office were on their way to drop him off at home at 9:30 one night when they asked him if he wanted to see one more ZF-sponsored orphan. He was hesitant when he found out it would be at least another half hour until they got there, as he had a flight early the following morning and hadn’t yet packed.
“By the way, the child we’re going to see is Hind, from the video [ZF made],” they told him. He immediately decided to go.
When they arrived, they sat on pillows on the floor in a traditional Middle Eastern living room. Hind had psychological trauma after losing her family and had trouble communicating with people. Her situation forced her to mature at a young age.
She seemed to be in better spirits by the time he visited, he said. She showed him her schoolwork, proud of herself for receiving full marks on an assignment. Muhannad just wanted to play, relentlessly asking Mr. Omran to take photos using Snapchat’s filters.
“I never met an individual — her whole family really affected me, but her specifically — I’ve never met an individual who had such a strong effect on me in such a short amount of time,” Mr. Omran said.
He said what stood out to him most was the way the three of them carried themselves. They saw some of the worst things the world has to offer, yet their faith is still strong, they’re still happy, and they’re still smiling.
Mr. Omran had bracelets on his wrist from his time in Turkey. He said he loved the siblings so much that he wanted to just give them the bracelets. Hind was thankful, but her brother kept trying to give the bracelet back. When the grandmother noticed what Muhannad was doing, she asked him why he was doing it, explaining that it was rude to decline a gift.
“Because I want to give him a gift,” Muhannad said.
The young boy with nothing to his name wanted to give a gift. There’s a lot to be said about his spirit, Mr. Omran said. He said he couldn’t imagine what the grandmother was going through, being forced to take care of two young children because of the war in Syria.
“We can’t save everybody, we can’t help everybody, but we’re obligated to do something and help as many people as we can,” Mr. Omran said. “It’s a responsibility we have to help. Seeing people like that, seeing people like Hind, it made me want to help more.”
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