There are few things in the world as uplifting and as heartwarming as watching children break out of their shells, to become the brilliant and independent persons they were always meant to be. In Mohammed’s case, with the modest encouragement and help from Mustaqbali and Bayt.com, a professional soccer player, and an intelligent young man is what we are watching emerge.
Mohammed Al Kurd is an 8-year-old boy living in a refugee camp in Rafah, along with his mother and three siblings, Rimas, Omar and Fatima. During the 08/09 war on Gaza, the family lost their breadwinner and their main source of love and support, their father. In coming years, life continued to collapse for the family, and Mohammed witnessed two more wars, during 2012 and 2014, the latter of which caused damage to his home. Though life has not always been kind to the Al Kurd family, and they now live under difficult circumstances, and experience financial difficulty, Mohammed’s kind and happy soul continues to persevere against it all.
Mohammed, who is now in the 3rd grade, first joined the Mustaqbali program when he was still in kindergarten. He had a rocky beginning, and his supervisor at Mustaqbali’s remedial education lessons noted that he was withdrawn and avoided communication with the other children and teachers. Since then, Mohammed’s teachers and psychologists learned that the best way for him to improve socially was by involving him in group games, social activities and interactive sessions, which all highlighted his natural intelligence and undeniable talents. Mohammed became a happy-go-lucky kid, who was more involved in class activities, participated actively and played freely with friends.
Not only did Mohammed’s character blossom, but so did his intelligence. He became much more independent in his learning, and his true shining moment was when he ended his school year with an average of 99% overall. His mother’s pride and joy could not be contained, she said, “He is one of the smartest boys in his class. When Mohammed shows me his certificate every year, I feel like I can fly of happiness. I am so proud of him.” She cheerfully added, “Mustaqbali has incubated my child and covered many requirements that my child had lost after losing his father. He receives health care, a proper education and psychosocial support.”
In addition to the remedial education that Mohammed receives, his participation in the winter and summer holiday activities helped him make more friends, truly shine as a person and express himself with complete freedom. He is a huge fan of the local football team in Rafah, and attends local games with exhilaration. His dream is to one day join the team, and he is chasing his dream by practicing on a daily basis. “I love Mustaqbali activities such as drama, games, creative writing and arts. My favorite sport is football, so I play it every day,” he said.
Believing in a child’s abilities to do something is all that they need sometimes to truly succeed. Allowing them to believe that they are capable of anything their hearts desire as long as they set their mind to it is how greatness is created in our world, and at Bayt.com, we cannot wait to see Mohammed become a big league one day.
The Mustaqbali program was launched in 2009 by the Abraaj Group and Welfare Association. It seeks to empower the under-privileged and orphaned children of Gaza after the war, and to provide them the prospect of a satisfying childhood and accomplished life. The result is the spread of success, hope and better lives for the children, and in turn, the development of Gaza. Bayt.com has been a supporter of the program since 2012, sponsoring 25 children every year.