Like many teenagers worldwide, 18 year-old Hekmat Naanaah has a dream. Here is her story.

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My name is Hekmat Naanaah. I am 18 years old and I was born and raised in Lebanon. Like so many girls here my age, I dream of many things that may never come true. However I have no doubt that they will with the support of my mother.

My parents got divorced when I was almost two years old. Since then, I have barely seen my father. It was as if he forgot about his responsibilities as a provider and caretaker. I never felt his love, care and compassion growing up. That’s why any mention of him sparked strong feelings of anger and hurt within me.

My family members often mentioned that he was sick, and that he was approaching the end of his life. Though they told many times, I never came to terms with the reality of the situation — even though I believe that every soul will eventually taste death. I thought that they were just saying this to encourage me to meet him.

I finally mustered up the courage to visit him as he laid on his deathbed. I was relieved that Allah (swt) did not take his soul before we met. After I held his hand for the first time in years he woke up and smiled at me. It was only moments later he left me — and this life — forever. Even though I got used to his absence in my life, at that moment I felt truly alone. His death affected me physically and spiritually on so many levels. And I now miss him so much. Through this experience, I’ve understood that it really is a blessing to have a father beside you.

After the death of my father, my health and grades deteriorated. I was infected with a rare disease in my arteries causing pain in my legs and red spots all over my body. It was difficult to feel confident engaging with others, including my family members. The doctors did not know the nature of this disease and could not diagnose me. Additionally, I failed my exams despite the hard work I put into studying for them. The circumstances of my life were stronger than me but I promised my mother that I would never give up.

Ever since that day, I decided to study Commerce and Accounting — even though my initial dream was to be a doctor.

My mother fulfilled a role of both a mother and a father for most of my life — sacrificing herself to secure a comfortable life for me. She has worked several jobs to support me so I would never feel like I was orphaned. Unfortunately, she is currently jobless. Though we live a simple life and things are difficult, I am so happy with mom. She is my soulmate, best friend and the keeper of my secrets.

Currently, my dream is to finish my education and start working so I can help my mother rent a separate house for both of us. Living with extended family is challenging since my uncles always ask us to vacate the house we are in. I am really thankful to Allah for my sponsor who has helped me face and overcome many difficulties of life. I wish for them to stay by my side and help me continue my further education until I am able to depend on myself.

Though my life is difficult, I have hope that Allah will never leave me. All I wish is that Allah grants my mother a long and healthy life because I cannot imagine my life without her.


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