By Laura Fawaz, Contributing Reporter
Audience members at the My Orphans Fundraising Dinner
Young speakers at the My Orphans Fundraising Dinner
Dearborn, MIâ€“â€œWe are not asking you to stop enjoying what you have â€¦ we are asking you to enjoy what you have by sharing it with others in need.â€
This is the slogan that concludes all of the documentaries and commercials in promoting the support of the orphans. At their past two fundraising dinners, the My Orphans Dinner organizers decided to show a powerful documentary as oppose to having a key-note speaker. And last Friday night was their 4th Annual Fundraising Dinner at the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn, Michigan. The goal of their fundraising dinner is yes to raise money for the orphans, but to do what they call â€œbring a gleam a hopeâ€ to them too.
And bringing a gleam of they have by hosting such fundraising projects as â€œEducate An Orphanâ€ and â€œEid For Orphans.â€ The â€œEducate An Orphanâ€ project was a monthly pledge of $10 for one year to build a school in Iraq. This school was built last year. The â€œEid For Orphansâ€ is a donation project of clothing gifts for these orphans so that they can have nice, new clothes for the Eid.
The best method of promoting such projects is the commercials and documentaries that the My Orphans Media Committee produces. Hajj Mahmoud Hammoud, a local photographer and filmmaker, voluntarily runs this committee. In the end of last year, he heard of an eight-year-old girl named Sukayna, who after finding out of the suffering of orphans overseas did extra chores around the house to earn extra money. After her earnings totaled $136, she put each and every dollar of that directly into the My Orphans donation box. Hammoud reenacted this into a commercial that was played at this fundraising dinner. When the lights were still off and the commercial concluded a spotlight shinned on young Sukayna who gave a short thank-you speech to her family and to Hammoud.
Hammoud also traveled to Lebanon and Iraq again this year to capture real footage from the orphanages. He was so inspired from the fundraising dinner held in 2012, that he traveled to the Middle East to see these orphanages for himself.
What the audience saw in last yearâ€™s documentary was a country that couldnâ€™t even begin to repair itself from the decade long war, the massacre of itâ€™s civilians, brutal dictatorship, and inhuman terrorism, and so many children without parents or a home. But in this yearâ€™s documentary, the audience saw a country coming out of a war, an improved living situation of its people, and an improvement on project initiatives. One such project seen was two new schools built, one for the young boys and another for the young girls. As of last year, the school that was available to them was very small, run down, and with a half broken ceiling that couldnâ€™t hold all of the children. Though after the generous donated gathered by My Orphans, along with the â€œEducate An Orphanâ€ project, there are now two schools.
Each stands tall, and is painted pink for the girlâ€™s school and green for the boyâ€™s school. Which was in dire need due to the fact that the majority of these young boys were not able to go to the public school. After their fathers died they tried to find any work they could so that they could bring some kind of food home for their families. Then when they tried to go back to school after missing so many years, they were no longer accepted since they were now years behind the rest of the students.
My Orphans was established in 2007 as 501C3 non-profit organization, in response to the overwhelming statics such as in Iraq alone, with the war of 2002 resulted in over five million orphans, and over one million widows. For anyone interested in doing so, please e-mail info@MyOrphans.us. Donations and sponsorship information can be found on https://www.myorphans.us/donate. 99% of donations go directly towards supporting these orphans. The photo gallery from the fundraising event can be found on www.muslimobserver.com.