I recently connected with a lovely woman Yollana, she had some business goals but after a few minutes chatting she revealed a personal cause that was taking her from her work. She told me a little about the story of Fatima and her son Abdo, who live in the Saharan Desert.
Sometimes it can be overwhelming how many problems there are, and how many people in the world who need help. But this is beautiful story where small actions can really make a difference and I wanted to share their story with you. I sent Yollana some questions – these are her gorgeous responses…
Q: Why are you fundraising for a woman in Morocco?
Yollana: I’m fairly active on Facebook, and over time I have discovered that it is a wonderful way to make genuine friends from around the world.
Too many world issues come to us distorted through the filter of mainstream media, but I now know real people on the ground in Nepal who are out taking medicines to the villages when the Earthquakes hit.
And I know real people in Pakistan asking how they can help the Rohingyas on the boats. I started to discover the power that is inherent in these connections, and the opportunities we all have to make a difference in each others lives around the globe.
I feel that real peace comes from looking beyond nationality, culture and religion, and seeing the humanity that we all share in this great global village we are a part of.
Q: What inspired you to get involved?
Yollana: I have been at death’s door before. It was thanks to the fast action of my friends who got me to the nearest hospital, the gift of modern medicine, and a good doctor, that my life was saved that day.
I know what it is like to need medical help. And I am incredibly lucky that I didn’t have to personally pay for it due to the public health system we have here in Australia.
I heard that Fatima was facing a similar situation, but she didn’t have a public health system to support her, she needed emergency surgery, and the family ended up forced to choose between jeopardising her health or their home…
On 25th May, 2015, in a desperate situation, Abdo was forced to take a loan from a desert lender, so his mother could start treatment. Thankfully, it means that his mother’s life is saved. But the catch – he has only two months to repay the loan. And the security is their house.
They are a poor desert family. There is no welfare, and there are no payment plans. I just couldn’t sit by and do nothing.
This campaign is my own Random Act of Kindness… but what’s beautiful is that it’s much bigger than me, too… Since we started, people from all over the world have donated money, time, and amazing gifts (the campaign rewards)… so it’s a Random Act of Kindness that anyone can join in.
Q: What is every day life like for Abdo and Fatima?
Yollana: Abdo and Fatima live in a small village on the edge of the Sahara desert, in the south of Morocco. They live a simple life, eating home cooked foods and drawing water from the well.
Abdo’s father doesn’t work and he earns his living receiving guests to his home for a traditional moroccan family experience, and taking tourists on camel tours into the desert, where they sleep in Bedouin tents.
His income is about 140 Euro a month. The surgery has costing them over 4000 Euro. It’s an impossible sum for a family like theirs to pay.
Q: What happens if they don’t get the money in time?
Yollana: Abdo and Fatima were lucky to find a desert lender who would provide funds she needed for urgent surgery. But the catch – they have only another month to pay it back, and they have to use their house as security. Imagine the stress for their family knowing that Fatima’s life is assured, but her home is now threatened.
I believe that together we can help them, and it doesn’t have to cost us much. With GoFundMe’s crowdfunding campaign, no one has to break the bank. With another 300 donations of $15 Canadian (that’s $10 Aussie dollars) each, their home will be secured.
Q: I see you have rewards for people who contribute!
Yollana: Yes! We’ve had a wonderful show of support from local and international musicians, poets, artists and some self empowerment experts too.
Abdo himself is offering desert camel tours for donations of $100 and over.
People who donate $50 and over will receive a personalised intuitive digital art piece from Western Australian artist Lisa Foley – whose work is incredibly vibrant and creative.
And donations of $15 or $30 or more will receive an uplifting and inspiring album of music, poetry and meditations from local and international artists. You can read more about them on our campaign page.
So, yes, everyone is contributing what they can, and I think people will definitely find their lives enriched in more than one way when they participate in the campaign.
Q: How can our readers help?
Yollana: Visit SaveFatima. You can donate any amount using a credit card or debit card, and you will have the option to make your donation anonymous to the public if you wish.
Right now, we only need 136 people to donate $30 and we will have reached our goal. So it is very achievable. But we do need to act fast. Time is running out on their loan, and that’s one more stress that this family doesn’t need.
Finally, if you don’t have anything to donate, you can still help out by sharing this campaign with your family and friends.
Some sample tweets to help spread the word:
Want to ride a desert camel in Morocco? Support this cause – www.gofundme.com/savefatima #travel #makeadifference #morocco
Can you help? With just $15 you could save a life and secure a home www.gofundme.com/savefatima #makeadifference #morocco
You get some amazing Australian music & art when u donate to this: www.gofundme.com/savefatima #makeadifference #morocco