من ملاك لدينا

من ملاك لدينا

كتبت: ملاك سمير إسعيفان

 

أحببتها وأرغمت نفسي على البقاء بجانبها، أحادثها وتحادثني، أروي لها تفاصيل قضيتها. أروي لها قصة طفلة في العشرين، تسمعني وتناديني، أشعر بأنها كأمي البعيدة تنبهني وتيقظني، أمي هي أم أختي الكبيرة، حتى أنني لا أستطيع الاجابة. تركت تلك الاجابة لقصتي، طالما عجزت عن تحديد هويتي، من بعد تلك الحياة.

أشعر بأنني طفل يصرخ للمرة الاولى، تنقذه الحياة. نعم تلك المرأة هي من أنعشت قلبي والروح بي من جديد. نعم، تلك البسيطة من تواضعت للجميع. أخاطب تلك المرأة الناضجة المليئة بالتجارب، أتحدث مع تلك المرأة المناضلة التى لا يأس معها ولا تيأس بوجودها.
أنا، ذلك الضمير الأن أصبح يخصني أكثر من أي وقت مضى، الآن أستطيع قولها؛ أنا تلك الحياة، وذلك الأمل، الآن أشعر بأنني ناضجة وباستطاعتي النهوض.
 أصبحت كتلك المرأة، مشبعة بالحب؛ فهي من دفعتني للطريق وأيقظتني من حلمي. هي تلك المرأة التى سأدعو دائما لها بالشكر والغفران. هي تلك الأخت الكبرى دينا بسيسو.

 انضموا لنا  ليتجدد بكم الأمل من جديد من خلال برنامجنا "الأخت الكبرى للأخت الصغرى"  

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"حلقات غراسييلا" لقاءات ملهمة لفتيات غزة

"حلقات غراسييلا" لقاءات ملهمة لفتيات غزة

 

   :كتبت ملك سمير عن لقاء برنامج "حلقات غراسييلا" في غزة

"عن تلك المحبة، عن أحلام الطفولة وأحلام الشباب، عن ذكريات الماضي ومستجدات الحاضر، عن تجارب تخوضها فتيات المستقبل، عن سؤال من أنت؟!

أحدثكم عن لقائنا اليوم وعن رحلاتنا غدا، أحدثكم عن مجموعة فتيات مفعمات بالأمل والشغف، أصف لكم تلك اللحظات المليئة بالحب والآمال، أروي لكم تفاصيل عشناها على شاطئ البحر؛ ،تحدثنا، تناقشنا، حتى أننا اختلفنا بالآراء ولكن هذا يثبت لنا مدى تفهمنا ومدى نضجنا. 

سنعمل يدا بيد لكل نحقق ما نصبو إليه ونثبت لكم من نحن!

انضموا لأسرتنا في Challenge To Change وشاركونا أحلامكم"

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Tribute to Marie-Ange

Tribute to Marie-Ange

There are many women (and men) wearing pink ribbons this month to raise awareness about breast cancer and to commemorate brave women who have battled with and still battle with breast cancer around the world.

Some of us know what the pink ribbon represents and some don’t. Among those who do know what it represents, how many actually do something to support women battling with breast cancer? By support, I do not mean sharing a pink ribbon post on your Facebook page; nor do I mean wearing a pink ribbon in passive solidarity mode.

I lost a very dear friend to breast cancer last year. It hit home because it took away one of my best friends!

Marie-Ange was an angel, true to her name. We worked together and were friends for over 25 years. Marie-Ange symbolized courage, positivity and faith. She was an absolutely beautiful woman, inside and out. And she was one of the most considerate people I knew. She was gentle and kind and sweet.

One year on, as I walk in the streets of Geneva, I am reminded by how much I miss her when I pass a cafe or a restaurant where we met, laughed and cried together. Good girlfriends are hard to find!

Marie-Ange was diagnosed with breast cancer over 15 years ago. She underwent treatment, went into remission, relapsed, and underwent treatment again. She did this with courage and confronted her fears in silence. She did not even impose her illness on her closest friends. She underwent chemotherapy alone, lost her hair, and put a wig on. She was still amazingly beautiful. She grew even more beautiful as the indelible marks of courage and faith left their imprint on her.

For over 15 years, she battled with breast cancer. She looked the illness in the eye and said “bring it on!”. Finally, the years of treatment and chemotherapy took their toll on her. She became frail and began to have complications. She still confronted them with courage. Even then, she did not impose her condition on her friends, nor complain about her predicament.

I admired her beyond words.

In her final six months, she lost considerable weight and was too weak to walk. She never lost her smile and her beauty, even then. She was admitted into hospital because she was too weak to care for herself. I would visit her and hold her hard and stare into her beautiful blue eyes.

“My darling friend. I am sorry. I wish I was there for you more often. I wish I called you more often. I wish I took the time to see you more often.” I said silently to myself.

She was moved to a Hospice, an “End of Life Clinic”, they called it. How awkward it was when I went to visit her there…walking into the hospital and knowing that all the persons I saw there were just counting days..and hours, not even months.

I went in to see Marie Ange…and there was this beautiful woman asking me why I had troubled myself by coming. Can you imagine? even then, she did not want to bother anyone. She was now skin and bone..But her piercing beautiful eyes still smiled at me.

There was a pungent smell there. Was it the smell of treatments that are administered to patients? Or was it the smell of death? I was so sick from the smell that I felt I could throw up. That night, I couldn’t sleep. I tossed and turned all night. The smell of that place…the hallowed faces of the patients. I couldn’t go back there. It was too much to bear.

But then I imagined my best friend sitting there, alone in her bed, knowing that death is looming. She is alone and afraid. How could I be so selfish as to be turned off by the acrid smell and the hallowed faces.

I went back to the hospice, a tissue with cologne under my nose to drown the small. I sat next to her,  held her hand, and played her favorite music. Every day, I would go to see her and watch her drift into unconsciousness from the drugs and pain killers they were giving her. She would wake up from her sleep and smile at me.

I held her hand until the very end.

Rest in Peace my dearest friend. The world is a colder place without you.

Share your opinions in the comments section below or mention us in your tweets on @C2C_Me and use the hashtag #BeTheChange

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My Mother … My Hero

My Mother … My Hero

My Mother..My Hero

My mother broke the mold in the 1940’s and 1950’s and she never stopped.

Alima was the first of seven sisters to refuse to wear a scarf to cover her head. She was the first to seek a university education and go to work. After graduating from The Beirut College for Women with a degree in education psychology, she applied for and was selected by a UN program for social work. Soon after, the UN sent her to Egypt for a year where her specialization was supervising services and education for the blind.

After her time in Egypt, she went back to Lebanon and set up the first private school for the visually impaired. Her school was later sponsored by the Lebanese Society for the Blind, whose honorary president was Lebanon’s First Lady Mrs. Zalfa Chamoun.

She moved to Bahrain after she got married. My father’s work commitments, as he aimed to rebuild himself after the loss of Palestine, demanded that she dedicate herself completely to her family and to raising us, which meant leaving her career. Yet she never really abandoned her work. A writer and novelist at heart, during these years she published three novels and was a regular contributor and columnist in Arab newspapers and magazines.

Her writing spoke about the predicament of the Arab woman in those years. She wrote about the place of women in Arab Society and real issues like family, marriage, children, divorce; namely, the disempowerment of women in a hugely patriarchal society.

Breaking more barriers, in a very audacious manner, in one of her novels my mother alludes to a woman, betrayed in love and shunned by family and society, who sought comfort and love from another woman.

After the Massacres of the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps in Lebanon in 1982, my mother spent a great deal of time interviewing survivors and doctors.  Later, she used these interviews to write a novel composed of short stories that recounted the lives of the victims she had interviewed and those who did not survive.

My mother spoke with a power and a passion that we, her children, knew only too well.

Later, my mother published what is, in my opinion, a book that was written before its time and well before today’s basic awareness of mental health.  Written in collaboration with the head of Bahrain’s only psychiatric hospital, the late Dr. Ali Mattar, her book Secrets of the Soul is the result of dozens of interviews she carried out with patients over one year. In Secrets of the Soul, she narrates these interviews in a series of short stories that are followed by Dr. Ali Mattar’s descriptions of the relevant mental disorders.

She specifically remembers a lady who thought that a celebrity was in love with her. Every time he was on TV, she believed he was sending her a message. She was in fact schizophrenic. This is just one of the many stories in my mother’s novel.

Recently, my mother switched from writing to recording and narrating fables on Hakawaty, a site that tells the story of Arab heritage and civilization. In her recordings, called “Stories from My Grandmother”, she narrates exactly that: stories that were told to her by her grandmother. Stories she wants to document before they were forgotten.

Out of her many achievements, my mother’s biggest achievement, and main source of pride, is the family she built and held together.

My mother is my hero.

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I Challenged Myself.. And Changed!

I Challenged Myself.. And Changed!

In my short life, I’ve taken up and dropped a lot of vocations and hobbies.

I’ve done crafts and arts. I’ve engaged in embroidery courses. I’ve devoted years to learning cooking. I’ve experimented with drawing and painting. I’ve even been preoccupied with video games. But none of them has molded my person, given me as much freedom and fulfillment, and brought me influence, satisfaction and inner peace as blogging.

Ironically, I even never thought I could publish any of my writings. Last year, same time, I would have never imagined that I will be writing for a powerful blog as Challenge To Change. But here I am. I’m the Editor-in-Chief for the inspirational, creative and courageous website of Challenge to Change.

Rawan, our energetic Social Media Coordinator & Producer, asked me once last year if I’d like to write for a website that aims to challenge the stigma and change the mindset around mental wellness. If I would like to share my experiences, strengths and hope.

For the first moment, I told her, writing is difficult. And publishing is even more so. It’s difficult because I don’t think I am good enough, heck, I can’t even call myself a writer. I don’t think the topics I want to talk about are important to others.

Then, I’m terrified of what other people will think about me, my writing, my ideas.
What if they don’t like them? What if they disagree? What will happen if I make a mistake and completely mess it up? Because, you know, I am just making my ideas available to the entire world in a matter of seconds – what if it will be used against me, to laugh at me or discredit me in the future?

And now, as I see myself after a year of this conversation, I would like to thank Challenge to Change, especially Dina Bseisu the founder and CEO, of what it changed me. The important change I experimented, is not that I write without fear now. No, this is something marginal in regard to the considerable, notable changes.

I learned to voice my opinions, dare to be wrong and stop being so scared to make mistakes. I learned to hear flattery without being carried away and I take criticisms without losing my cool. I learned to reflect deeply on my life, my relationships, and my society; engage with others intellectually, appreciate the strengths in arguments and point out the flaws in them. Additionally, it surely helped me to aid good causes. Whether it’s supporting visually impaired students, supporting the education of young ladies or building schools for poor communities, Challenge to Change was and still is a helping hand to great causes we believe in.

Moreover, when I started writing, I didn’t know a thing about domain names, hosting servers, HTML, social media, link building, SEO, blog design, etc. Now I do. Within a short time, I have amassed a ton of valuable new skills that I am proud of.

Endless positive changes in less than a year. How after some more years?

If you ever considered writing and publishing (yes, there are so many people who write but are scared to death to share it with others), I’m sure some of the doubts I had crossed your mind once or twice, or a hundred times. Worse, maybe it stopped you from even trying…
One thing I know – it sure stopped me before, but never will again. Go start writing.

I leave you with the words of Oprah Winfrey:
“Do the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do better the second time. The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire. This is your moment. Own it.”

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Challenge To Change is a Swiss Non-Profit Association, Registration number: CHE-379.395.651,4. Rue des Bains 35 Ch-1205 Geneva (Switzerland). challenge.me

Challenge To Change is not affiliated with any political or religious group. We are not involved in any kind of religious or political activities as we work exclusively for the benefits of women's wellbeing and health, regardless of their political and religious views and opinions. The opinions of our contributors and beneficiaries are expressly and exclusively their own and may not necessarily reflect the opinions of Challenge To Change.