Dubai: Noor, Aisha and Rimsha were born deaf. But they were able to overcome their difficulty and their parents were overjoyed after hearing them recite the Holy Quran and interact with others — thanks to the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives (MBRGI) that has been spreading hope and making a difference to millions of lives around the world since 2015.
The sisters were among countless others who benefitted from MBRGI and Al Jalila Foundation’s projects and initiatives. “Some were given a new life, some gave a fresh lease of life to others, while others inspired their fellows to dare to dream and achieve,” noted MBRGI, adding: “(We) drive change and inspire those around us to be better.”
Gift of hearing to three sisters
Hope came to Afdal, the girls’ father, in 2017. He had been searching for ways to restore his daughters’ hearing, until he was introduced to cochlear implants, a cutting-edge technology that offers a permanent solution for hearing impairment. But the treatment came with a high cost for the family, who have been living in the UAE since 2005.
Afdal approached Al Jalila Foundation and in no time the request for a cochlear implant for the youngest daughter, Noor, who was six at the time, was approved. She was chosen first as implants have higher success rates and faster results for younger patients.
Noor improved rapidly after receiving her cochlear implant. She joined a school with other children her age and did not show any signs of cognitive or social delay, despite the fact that she lived in complete silence for the first six years of her life, her parents shared.
Soon, Al Jalila Foundation took care of the older sisters, Aisha and Rimsha, who previously relied on lip-reading to communicate. They also received their cochlear implants and now all three iblings are living their lives to the fullest and planning for a brighter future.
Noor’s mother said: “The happiest day of my life was when we received the approval for the cochlear implant for our daughters. It was a priceless gift that drastically changed our lives forever.”
Meet Algeria’s reading star
Mohammed Jalloud, who is from Constantine, a city in northeastern Algeria, was crowned champion in the first edition of Arab Reading Challenge. He read and summarised more than 50 books in one school year and demonstrated insightful articulation and analytical thinking to the judges during the final round of the competition.
It was no mean feat as he was only seven years old at the time and he stood out because he made good impression with his confidence and fluency in the Arabic language. Winning the Arab Reading Challenge inspired him to continue working hard to develop his skills while pursuing his studies.
The prize has also opened many doors for Mohammed and he shared his prize. He gifted a small library to his schoolmates to encourage them to read. He also presented a TV show titled ‘The Treasure of Reading’, which aired on the children’s ‘Baraem’ channel, in addition to participating in a traffic safety campaign for one of Algeria’s provinces.
Five years after winning the Arab Reading Challenge, Mohammed remains the pride of his community and his city. He has been mentioned in the elementary and middle school history and in English books, as an example of individual achievement and ambition. It was no exaggeration that he became a national icon in Algeria. But Mohammed remains grounded and he knows he still has a long way to go to complete his schooling, develop his skills and acquire more knowledge.
‘Hope is a light that never dies’
“The most important thing is to have the determination to start. Lighting a candle is better than shedding tears over ashes,” says Husham Althahabi, who was among the five finalists in the 2017 Arab Hope Makers initiative. The Iraqi humanitarian pioneer was cited for his efforts in spreading hope through the ‘Iraqi House of Creativity’ in Baghdad.
Althahabi began his journey helping children in 1998, when he adopted two children after he saw homeless orphans wandering hopelessly, looking for a shelter around the office of a humanitarian organisation.
He decided he was no longer just an observer but a changemaker. In 2004, he converted his own house into a foster home. To date, Althahabi’s ‘Iraqi House of Creativity’ has helped raise 480 orphans to lead independent, productive lives. The House currently hosts 70 children and has become a safe haven for the city’s orphans and homeless children.
- Dubai hosts Expo’s final International Participants Meeting
- 83 million people worldwide benefit from MBRGI’s Dh1.2 billion humanitarian and social projects in 2020
- Eid Al Fitr holidays announced for UAE private sector
- Supporting UAE Armed Forces and defence industries will remain a strategic priority, President Sheikh Khalifa says
Since winning the Arab Hope Makers prize, Althahabi’s aspirations have grown bigger and the lives of the children he has taken in have changed drastically. He has put his Dh1 million prize purse in establishing a foster home in Baghdad, which is set to become a certified child-care establishment for orphans, homeless children and others in need.
Construction of the foster home began in October last year and is due for completion by the end of 2021. Once complete, it will be an eco-friendly, integrated institute, comprising a counselling centre, health club, gym, football pitch, study halls and a library. The home will provide fulltime housing for 280 young people and offer support to more than 1,000 non-resident children every year. Children will also be able to undertake occupational training programmes in a variety of livelihood activities, including cooking, sewing, embroidery and hairdressing.