Doha Mouadi was late many times to break the fast-breaking meal during the holy month of Ramadan.
She was traveling with her sister and a friend to children's homes in Ramallah and the Al-Bireh Governorate, making wishes come true for the little ones who wrote what they wanted on paper and Mouadi promised to make them happen.
"It wasn't important for me to be late for my food, the real importance for me was these kids to have their wishes before the Eid morning," she said, referring to the festival after Ramadan.
Mouadi is from the village of Kafr Malek in northeast Ramallah. She started volunteering eight years ago when she was enrolled at Birziet University. She was the coordinator for a voluntary group that provided basic needs to poor families, including food, clothing, and medicine.
On each visit, Mouadi’s attention and thinking are most concerned with the children in the families.
"I was looking at the kids and wondering, ‘are they in this life just wanting to eat and drink? Do they even realize why we're in their house?’” she said. “They often don't understand any of this, they're just kids with childhood dreams like any child in the world."
Mouadi’s idea to make the wishes of children a reality was conceived from those questions in an initiative, Your Dream Is True.
It started when Mouadi told her sister and friend about the idea. The three began working to buy gifts. And with her friend’s car, they traveled to different areas to give children their wishes.
“One day, I was giving a boy his dream. He hugged me and said, ‘I love you so much Doha.’ For this feeling I will never stop,” she said.
During each visit, children are given envelopes to write wishes they would like to have. Doha collects the envelopes at the end of the visit. A week later, she returns, carrying dreams in her hands.
Each day, Doha, 26, finishes work as an accountant at 4.30 p.m. and then shifts to the volunteer work she has been doing since she was a first-year student.
For Mouadi, the idea originated from the fact that the children not only need to eat and drink but they need to have a childhood -- they have a right to live. And Mouadi has taken it upon herself to do what she can to give them a childhood.
Mouadi is working to make children’s dreams come true with a team from Your Dream Is True.
“We announced the wishes on the initiative social media platforms, and followers contact us to pay for the dreams,” Mouadi told Anadolu Agency.
The initiative was launched two years ago and has made more than 150 wishes come true, and counting. Mouadi said with astonishment that the wishes are very simple and might seem normal to others.
"The surprise to us was that their dreams are so simple, things you don't imagine -- it could be a dream for someone,” she said. “One of the kids wrote a football, and a girl wrote balloons and drawing tools. What they dreamed of was very simple, but nobody ever asked them, ‘what do you wish for?’”
Your Dream Is True is active in Ramallah and the Al-Bireh Governorate and recently started in the southern villages of Nablus.
Mouadi and her friends aspire to reach all areas of Palestine and to extend their work to every area in the world where there is a child with a wish waiting to come true.
On one of Mouadi’s visits, a child wrote that he dreamed of getting a computer and a bulbul -- a bird. A few days later, she and her friends returned with his wish covered in colored paper.
“I don't forget how his eyes shined when he saw his dream was real in front of him. Every time I felt tired of the pressure of life and work, and I didn't find enough time to pursue volunteering, I remember him and how happy he was, so I become more determined to find time to pursue the realization of children's dreams,” she said.
Hanan, who is a 5-year-old with speech and behavior disabilities was not able to tell Mouadi’s wish.
Her mother told the team that she wished to see her daughter in a better situation. The team contacted a rehabilitation center that is still giving Hanan the sessions she needs months after she began.
"I visited her two weeks ago, I saw how much better she was than the first day she went to the center,” Mouadi recalled emotionally as she remembered how Hanan ran and hugged her.
Volunteering is an essential part of her everyday life for Mouadi.
She is actively volunteering for audiobooks for the blind, as part of the Rain initiative.
"My day cannot pass without volunteering, it is as important to me as eating, it’s a spiritual feed,” she said.
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