MAD began back in 2004 when Randa N. Diab received the bill after dining out one night. She was dining with friends and after splitting the bill, she suddenly felt guilty. The bill was large, but we all splurge once in a while and what better way to do so than fine dining. Randa felt guilty for a different reason.
That day she’d overheard part of a story about a taxi driver who had gone blind and was in desperate need of help. The story wasn’t being told in order to raise money, just another sad story that we all tell and hear, and it wasn’t until later when she was paying the bill that Randa remembered the taxi driver. “I believe that everything happens for a reason, people come into my life in such weird ways that I feel obliged to help them out,” she tells me. And so that’s what she did. The next time she met with her friends it was for dinner at somebody’s house. Even though there was no bill, she suggested they pay one anyway and she used the money to help.
From these humble, good-hearted beginnings, MAD has grown to a point where Randa can really make a difference. She is on the verge of having to decide whether to register as a charity or not. She already runs the organization as though it were one, anyway. All donations are signed for and issued receipts, and all money that she distributes is documented and filed away. She worries about losing the personal touch and the tangible feel of MAD. The way in which somebody can give money directly to a worthy cause and see the effect it has on people. This is something you cannot experience when donating to large charities. They now have people who make one-time donations to particular causes and some who donate on a monthly basis and allow MAD to simply help people with this money.
But MAD is not all about money. Of course they help some people with financial donations but they also provide medical or school supplies for those who cannot afford such things. Randa personally goes around and buys these things with donated money before distributing it to those who need it. They even pay school fees for families who struggle to send their children to school. One of the many current families she is helping is being forced to repatriate after living and working in Kuwait for over twenty years. The father is now sick and he cannot afford to keep his family here in this place they consider their home. MAD is making sure he and his family are taken care of.
Randa is also trying to make people realize that they don’t have to donate money. She’s trying to expand, not only the reach of her donators, (she doesn’t want to be always asking the same people) but also what they donate. “We want people to donate in any way they can,” she tells me. This could mean clothes, time (visiting sick children in hospital) or blood donations. You can even donate a talent if you have one. MAD recently ran a CPR course run by Randa’s sister, who is a qualified nurse and offered hers skills for free. The money that people paid for the course all went to MAD causes and at KD15 per person the attendees also benefitted. They also run cooking courses from a family bakery in the same way and offer a Ramadan cookbook of family recipes with all proceeds going to MAD.
Randa takes her position very seriously, she tells me, “Whenever someone donates even a penny to me, I will personally ensure that I go to the people in need, evaluate what it is they need and then help them.” She acknowledges that she could not, and does not, do this alone. Cousins, and family in general, as well as friends all support the MAD cause. Her husband is her rock and none of what she does would be possible without him.
Always trying to improve and, help more people, Randa is now working on getting ‘MAD Mondays’ off the ground. She wants to encourage companies to donate a small percentage of their profits every Monday, or one Monday a month, whatever they are comfortable with. This would benefit the companies’ CRS programs and in turn MAD would generate more money to do what it was founded to do – make a difference.
MAD is a non-profit organisation that simply wants to make a difference in Kuwait. For more information on causes and donations visit Facebook: MADKuwait or contact Randa N. Diab directly at [email protected].