The Foundation of Hope was founded with an aim to help children in need. The Foundation has not been limited to a particular cause, but mainly provides hope for children whose families struggle to provide them with an education due to financial hardships. Funds raised are donated to educational institutions (such as The Khalifa School) and centers (The Down Syndrome Society and Kuwait Psychiatric Hospital). Lately, the FOH is revamping its image and seeking to spread its tentacles even further. Two ladies who have worked tirelessly as co-founders at the helm of the Foundation are MBE award-winner Mrs. Rhoda Al-Muhmood and Elsie Qutteineh. Here, we had a chance to interview the latter, who agreed to share tidbits with us.
Every manifestation arises from a thought. Tell us about the thoughts that brought FOH to life.
It all started as a response to the tragedy of Ali Abbas, an Iraqi boy who suffered severe injuries when a rocket hit his home in 2003 during the Iraqi conflict. He was 12 years old when the attack killed 13 members of his family. Adding to this, Ali suffered extensive burns to his body and was left without both his arms. He was one of a group of children airlifted to Kuwait for urgent medical treatment as part of a humanitarian initiative of His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah. I was amongst a small group of ladies from the British Ladies Society (BLS) who went to visit him in the hospital. This young boy, in spite of his dire situation, was joking with us while fooling around in the hospital room skillfully negotiating a football while keeping his balance. Ali also learnt to paint with his feet and it was during one of our visit, the idea was born to feature his paintings on small notelets with his simple message to the world: “My paintings should be a symbol of peace. War should not happen.” The proceeds of these cards went to Ali and others like him. The Foundation of Hope was under the umbrella of BLS between 2003 until 2013 when we became an independent fully registered Charity at the Ministry of Social Affairs, The notelets were replaced with calendars, then we went on to produce diaries, but in today’s digital world, we feel that it is time to get back to the ‘drawing board’. In conclusion, as far back as I can remember, I have always wanted to be of service to others.
People seem to be averse to giving money to charity these days because of the lack of transparency. How can you encourage people, who desperately want to help, to partake with their money fearlessly?
By paying personal visits to the different organizations that we target. People in general are very astute and I think they can easily pick up on the fact that we are serious and passionate in our mission to help others, especially children. We always provide the appropriate documentations upon receiving money, and evidence of where the money was spent.
This year, however, you decided to host more events, apart from the annual concert. What do you have in mind?
We had a night of poetry and music last month at QMC (Quttainah Medical Centre) where we launched our president Dr Adel Quttainah’s book titled “A Collection of Antique Medical and Surgical Instruments”. The proceeds from the book went to our charity. This year we are planning an event to take place either around Kuwait’s National day or Mother’s day.
A night of poetry and music hosted by the Foundation of Hope, at Cafe Medusa for the book launch of Dr. Adel Quttainah , A COLLECTION OF ANTIQUE MEDICAL AND SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS
Posted by Foundation of Hope Kuwait on Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Share a success story with us.
Over the past few years, the goals of the Foundation of Hope have shifted towards helping children who are intellectually challenged. Abdullah, aged seven, was inactive and unresponsive when Abeer Al-Khalid ( a co-founder) and I first met him. He was trapped in his own prison, unable to walk, unable to talk. Abdullah had, at this point, never received any education from his family as they could not afford the fees for special education. The decision was not hard. We wanted to help this child by getting him into a specialized school. Today, Abdullah is a happy, outgoing child and is learning to stand and maybe walk in the future.
Is there anything you could say to our readers to galvanize them to start their own foundations (not necessarily charity-based)?
I recently came across these words, by Haemin Sunim, which resonated deeply within my heart;
“I wish you could see my true nature.
Beyond my body and labels, There is a river of tenderness and vulnerability.
Beyond stereotypes and assumptions, There is a valley of openness and authenticity.
Beyond memory and ego, There is an ocean of awareness and compassion.”
If only mankind would realize that we are all connected, we are all souls on a journey. We are all here on Earth to learn, to love and support one another and thus evolve.
You can follow the Foundation of Hope on Instagram @fohkuwait or on their Facebook page: Foundation of Hope. You can follow Nejoud on social media @nejoud.alyagout or visit her website www.nejoudalyagout.com.