Our world is indeed a strange and unique place simultaneously. There is no dearth of irony in this world where half the word is reading diet books to lose weight and the other half is starving of hunger. Some have an abundance of gold jewellery and find it tough to match their high-end gold and diamond jewellery with dresses while millions more do not know where the next meal is going to come from.
Fatima Awad is a divisional director of Clinical Service and Risk management in Washington who helps countless refugees across the world to have better lives and build a sustainable future for themselves. Having completed her Master’s degree in Nursing Practice and Leadership, she is now pursuing a Doctorate in Nursing.
She started offering medical assistance to refugees in 2015 when a young seven-year-old boy from Gaza named Waseem came to her in Washington with a congenital deformity in his lower legs that made him immobile. He lived with her for six months and during his stay, Fatima’s worldview changed. Things like food, shelter and parents which we all take for granted suddenly appeared transient and her mind switched to the gratification mode.
How a seven-year-old boy left an indelible impact on her psyche
Fatima tried everything she could to make him smile and thought buying materialistic stuff would make him happy but it didn’t work. All Waseem wanted from Fatima was love, compassion, care and someone who says I believe in you. Waseem taught Fatima that materialistic things are not important and do not guarantee happiness. Within six months he was able to walk, learned multiple languages and felt self-assured. “He changed me as I changed him,” says Fatima Awad.
When Waseem was gone, she wanted to witness firsthand the cauldron of uncertainty that Palestinian refugee camps were called in America. She wanted to see how a refugee camp looks like and how people could survive in such abject poverty and destitution.
A new unpleasant world unfolded in front of her.
Fatima packed her bags and embarked on a journey to the Middle East for an unknown adventure which she will never forget. She visited refugee camps in Palestine and Jordan and was appalled to see how residents lived there in poverty and hopelessness. In all other places in the world, people had a burning desire to live and enjoy life but in Palestine, it was different.
She saw first hand what conflict can do to mankind!
As expected, the appalling conditions in the refugee camps left Fatima devastated and it was an unnerving experience for her. She saw horrendous things, her heart melted, and her eyes quickly turned to red after seeing the inhuman conditions in which the residents lived. When she saw refugee camp for the first time, she couldn’t sleep for a week. She saw a little girl with a congenital deformity along with bedsores on her body. There was nobody to help her. It was a moment which shattered her heart into pieces. She can’t get away from this image till date and it feels like that image has been tattooed in her mind forever. She instantly found the meaning and purpose of her life and wanted to devote the rest of her life helping patients who had lost all hope of recovery. So that they can get back on their feet, rebuild their confidence and lead better lives. As she embarked on her new innings in the Middle-east, Fatima saw fear and hopelessnesses in the eyes of refugee men and women who had lost their home, loved ones and had zero financial support. The majority were in a catastrophic state and wanted care, compassion, love and recognition of their Palestinian identity from the rest of the world.
Whenever Fatima goes to a camp or a poverty area, she develops an instant connection with kids and sees them as a future of the world. She firmly believes that if we give them a chance which the previous generation did not get; we can actually make a difference in their lives. What Fatima is doing she is illuminating branches for refugee people. She is changing what they believe is impossible into possible. Having been born and raised up in the family which taught her to always give back to the world. Helping and giving back to the world was a key component of her childhood.
How Fatima used social media as a force multiplier
She has successfully leveraged social media as a tool to assist refugees all around the world and to recruit young medical professionals eager to serve in hostile environments. For the past three years, she has organized medical and humanitarian missions to the Middle East, and she recently founded her own nonprofit, ‘United in Humanity’. She has a multi-cultural team of volunteers and has spent her vacation in the Middle East to aid refugees with human necessities. Every volunteer who came there has a new perspective towards life and a different way to see the world. Fatima feels satisfied and at peace after assisting aid to refugees.
Everything makes sense to her when she is in a refugee camp. She shares her valuable content and experience from the United States to the camp. She tries to educate, mentor help and teaches young students so that they can make better decisions about their future. Good health and education can form the foundation of a just, equal society where there is a level playing field for everyone.
United in humanity is a non-profit organization that consists of a group of medical professionals and other volunteers who travel to the Middle East and provide Medical/Humanitarian care. The volunteers pay for their own expenses and accommodations.
If you would like to start as a volunteer or donate please contact Fatima Awad.
E-mail: [email protected]