By Laura Fawaz, TMO
On this world and the hereafter. And they ask you concerning the orphans Say: To set right for them (their affairs) is good, and if you become co-partners with them, they are your brethren; and Allah knows the mischief-maker and the pacemaker, and if Allah had pleased, He would certainly have caused you to fall into a difficulty; surely Allah is Mighty, Wise.
Dearborn, MI â€“ Last Friday the IIK hosted the 2nd Annual Fundraising Dinner for the My Orphans organization, in efforts of bringing what they call â€œa gleam of hopeâ€ to orphans in Iraq, Lebanon and Afghanistan.
â€œMy Orphansâ€ serves children who have lost one or both parents and are in dire need of assistance. Hajj Khodr Hamka, who is the head of the executive committee, CEO of I.M.A.M. (Imam Mahdi Association of Marjaeya), emceed the program. He introduced Sayed Muhammad Baqir Kashmiri who is the religious leader within the I.M.A.M. office, and is the liaison to Ayatollah Sayed Ali Al Sistani in North America.
â€œThe Prophet (s) touched humanity, an orphan can touch humanity,â€ said Sayed Kashmiri, who began his speech by reminding everyone that Prophet Muhammad (s) was an also orphan. He changed the world, thus, so can these orphans who need the support of the people. â€œWe are not here to help the orphans, we are here to help ourselves. We are not here to benefit from orphans, we are here to benefit ourselves,â€ continued Sayed Kashmiri when speaking on the infinite rewards a believer receives when helping orphans.
â€œYou are the servants of God, you are the ones who are supporting and serving these orphans, you are the ones that are putting food in the mouths of these orphans that are so desperately in need,â€ said the Project Manager of My Orphans, Hajja Faten Fawaz, who is also the head of the Humanitarian Services Department at I.M.A.M.
The film that Fawaz introduced was a sample of the reality that millions of Iraqi children went through after the 2002 American invasion. It showed a young daughter standing next to her father who was wearing all white, with a light covering him entirely. As he was walking away from his daughter, the crowd received the message that this young girlâ€™s father was returning to God, and she was left all on her own. The film continued with the daughter sleeping on cold, cement floors, with nothing but a raggedy doll.
Once the film finished, and the lights turned back on, tears flowed on the faces on many of the women in the room. And shortly after this was a documentary that included recent photos of these rundown orphanages, with compelling stories from local Muslims who made the journey to visit these children.
Fawaz, was also in this documentary, told about a woman she met at the school the orphanage created for the kids, who quit her job as an engineer so that she could volunteer at the school. This woman told Fawaz of a young female who every day at lunch would eat half of the little food that they were able to provide, and take the other half and pack it away. After this happening everyday for over a week, the volunteer asked the young girl why she was packing it away. The girl responded that she has a younger sister at home who does not have food, so she packs it to take to her baby sister every day.
The narration of this documentary contained information on My Orphans, stating that the 2002 war was just another â€œdire situation caused by decades of neglect, brutal dictatorship, and inhuman terrorism,â€ and is what prompted the establishment of My Orphans in 2007 as a 501C3 non-profit organization. And in late 2010, My Orphans went national, changing their headquarters from California to Dearborn, Michigan. Also in this documentary were statistics stating that in Iraq alone, the war of 2002 resulted in over five million orphans, and over one million widows.
Once the documentary finished, and the lights turned back on, tears were now flowing on the faces of everyone in the room, men and women alike. The film, documentary, and information can all be found on www.myorphans.us.