It’s been a challenging journey..
Ten months after launching our delightful cushions, I felt like it was time to finally put our #Gift2Smile initiative to effect and distribute the sleeping pillows that we had promised to donate on behalf of our customers. And, Ramadan was coming up as well!
We ordered the pillows from our supplier (Cloud Nine) who also provides us with the customised inserts for our cushions: high quality, polyester-filled sleeping pillows, which are hypoallergenic, washable and anti-bacterial. We also got 50% Cotton/50% Polyester pillowcases.
We decided to distribute our pillows with the help of Hands-On Hope, a wonderful organisation that provides aid, community service and education at grass-roots level where it is needed most.
I managed to visit a few homes with them – each home has a sad story. However, with Hands-On Hope, they not only provide the needy families with the basics – they also play a huge role in empowering the mothers.
These are a couple of stories from the homes we visited:
Um Muhammad lost her husband, who was also the sole bread-winner of the family a few months ago. She gave birth to her baby Saleh after the sad demise of her husband. She has six children. Hands-On Hope has helped her find an apartment to live in and provided her with basic (+ white goods), in addition to food packages for her family. They also taught her how to make “Ma’moul”, a popular Arab sweet, and provided her with the initial materials and ingredients to start with, so that she could bake and sell.
At the Ein Al Basha Refugee Camp, we visited Um Nabil. She lives in a basement, where the smell of mildew is overwhelming. At the time, she had just given birth to baby Balquees (23 days old, born premature and with a medical condition), and had lost her twin brother during delivery.
Um Nabil and her family do not have identification papers. Her children do not go to school because they are not allowed to go to government school, and she cannot afford to send them to a private school.
Her husband used to be a construction worker, but had a bad accident and hurt his back. Now he works at a restaurant with a low wage.
Hands-On Hope has helped Um Nabil immensely by paying for the rent of her apartment (she had to sell all her furniture to buy food for her children and was kicked out of her home), providing her with all the basic white goods, food supplies, etc. They even have sponsors for the young children (expenses).
Living room in Um Nabil’s basement apartment
Naughty, little Nabil happy with his new pillow
There are so many stories untold and unheard of. But so far, my mission is to give these people and their children a good night’s sleep, because it is what any human being deserves.
It is a basic necessity to sleep on a clean, fluffy pillow that won’t cause/escalate allergies, and that won’t house bugs. This is my argument when someone tells me that pillows are not the most important thing they need.
My heartfelt thanks goes to every single person who was a part of my journey, and to the amazing people that I met in Jordan who help so many others, and to my wonderful customers who believe in the stories that I tell through my cushions, and who support my cause.
We are looking forward to a brighter future, to create more impact, to educate and to empower.