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Charity begins at home — Voices of Youth Enter a summary
Above link is one of my recent interview/article ‘Charity Begins at Home’ posted at Voices of Youth, By Noma N - Project Assistant.
I hope it will inspire others to contribute positively.
You can also read the article below this image…
Charity begins at homePublished 17 days ago
By Noma N , Project Assistant
When it comes to Youth and Female empowerment, Dr Sadiyo Siad takes it very seriously. I sat down with the inspirational woman at the forefront of the UK based charity EVA Organization for Women. She is taking matters into her own hands and creating the change she wants to see in the world. Who is Sadiyo and what is she about?
I am a mum, a student for life, entrepreneur. I also have a medical background and l love to help charitable organizations and help globally.
How did Eva Organization for Women (EOW) start and what inspired you to start a charity?
Well, it started a long time ago, l never knew the word volunteering when my mum started sending me to help our neighbor who was ill. After years of giving domestic support to the neighbor it led me to work as a volunteer first in Somalia, and through that fell in love with helping others.
When did you create the charity and why?
I came to the UK in 2004 and began volunteering for different organizations and l saw a gap within the industry. There were several Somali community organizations which were divided, l wanted to help everyone not a certain group. I started planning in 2009, we wanted to bring people together from all walks of life who want to help their communities. The purpose of EOW is to empower and encourage people regardless of their background (women and young people) to break down the barriers that are hindering their successes and achievements
Your charity aims to tackle the issue of Female Genital Mutilation, how are you doing this?
FGM is a taboo subject and we believe education is the way forward. That is why our slogan is “educate to eradicate FGM.” We believe in order to bring change you have to change the mindset of the people, and through dialogue we can challenge old thinking. We provide training for professionals in communities to help tackle this issue.
What challenges do you face in tackling Female Genital Mutilation?The challenges include the media, communities may feel they have been portrayed in a bad light by the media which makes . Furthermore the people that want to bring change to this do not have enough support or funding to do so. Some lack the training, education which is needed since it is a sensitive topic. We can’t do it alone, unless funded in order to strengthen our abilities to do so.
You created the ‘Women in Democracy’ project, why did you find it important for women to get involved in this?
Because women are under-represented and we need more women in charge. That is why we collaborated with the local government to bring the Empowerment Programme “Women in Democracy” which educates women about how decisions are made nationally that directly affects them, how to get involved and the importance of getting involved. As women we have a powerful voice, but we’re not aware of it.
What are you most proud of?
The Youth and Parents Projects which includes ‘Brighter Futures’ which runs workshops for youth focusing on leaderships, entrepreneurship, career development and life coaching.I’m also proud FGM projects, till now we’re making a big impact, in 2015 EOW trained 50 people including police officers and midwives, to help eradicate FGM in communities, they are the most impact projects.
What your long term vision for EOW?*laughs* Globally! I believe charity begins at home, that’s why EOW has mainly focuses on helping the local community. But in 5 years time, we’re hoping to continue the work we’re doing in England but to also extend this work to Somalia.
We’re now beginning work in Somalia, in a project called “Building one person at a time” and we aim to build schools and libraries. As a charity we believe that change begins with us and together we can make a change for a better tomorrow.
“Ever since I was a little girl I always deeply felt people’s pain, agony and hurdles like it is ME going through that pain and my heart pours out great empathy through which I possess the ability to notice their need before they say; hence, I had the will and determination to help them ease their pain, grief and agony which I so much felt deep within.”
On Wednesday morning, 23rd December 2015, I received a phone call from Dr Mohamed Osman, asking if I could help (volunteer) for their project, ‘ Free Eye Screening & Cataract Operations in Jambalul Village (outside of Mogadishu, Somalia), on Friday, 25th December. Although I was very busy with many of my projects, I couldn’t say no.
On our way to get to Jambalul from Mogadishu, I said to Dr Osman, ‘I am not an optometrist, you know? So what do you want me to do there?’ He laughed and said, “These people suffer a lot of tropical diseases. They are also dehydrated as they don’t drink a lot of water. So, just give them good advice.”
As we were getting close to the village, I remembered how my mother had been feeling when I told her that I was planning to go to Jambalul. She was horrified and didn’t know what to do to change my mind, because she felt that I have not been taking seriously enough the insecurity which my birth country has inherited - or endured - for the last 25 years of civil war, and the violence of terrorists who are eager to kill anybody who dares to help the poor people or even tries to contribute to rebuilding the country. My mum was also upset that I have decided to take my boys on the trip so that they could help alongside us. When I was leaving the house, I hugged my mum and she held me tight and gave us her blessings.
When we arrived there, we started to unpack the medical equipment and the medicines we wanted to distribute. After we organised ourselves, having prepared number cards for the patients, slowly, the local people started coming. Those who needed simple medications, we gave on the spot, whereas others who needed either further examinations or operations we referred to the main hospital in Mogadishu.
A couple of ladies chose to stay a little bit longer and wanted to talk to me. They shared about their daily day life at Jambalul and our conservation turned into a counselling session. It is remarkable to know and experience how great it is to give your ears to listen to others who are in greater adversity. Indeed, giving back did ease the pain within.
On my way back to Mogadishu, after I finished taking a few pictures, I reflected on the day. As I looked at my reflection on the windrow of the bus, I saw a big smile, happiness and hope on my face. I was smiling and was happy because of our little contribution today at Jambalul Village. I was hopeful because Somalia still has bright young doctors who really care. They didn’t just showed up but they paid the expenses and came to help their only day off from work.
“Be good to those who are around you and have a good heart and be generous with your time”
Peace and Love – Dr Sadiyo Siad
Being a philanthropist is not being rich but it is about giving something very valuable back to these who are in need. That valuable thing could be your time, knowledge or money.
For me, I started this long before I even knew what it meant…
Though I didn’t know what the word ‘volunteering’ meant, at a very young age, my mom used to send me over to a neighbour who would often get very ill and had to stay in bed for months. Her children were not around often as they were living with relatives and her husband had passed away. I used to do domestic work for the lady and used to bring some food to her from home.
Through this experience I learned how important it is to visit and care for those who are ill. Though that neighbour was sick and was in deep pain, she never lost her smile. Since this experience I became a doer and I confronted more benevolence from within me to help others who were in desperate need and I couldn’t in any shape or form ignore it. When I see a problem, an obstacle, an issue or someone who needs help even if they never asked me to help, I stand up and for most of the times without asking other people to give me a hand to deliver the good deed with me, I just go ahead and help them or try to solve it in anyway, shape or form.
For example, during the Somali civil war, I remember while my mom and I were visiting one of my uncles who had been injured, I saw many others who were injured and had lost either one or both of their lower limbs. These people were not in a place that had access to crutches. At that time, Mogadishu (the capital city of Somalia) was split into the northern and the southern territories, and these patients were in the north of Mogadishu in a big house, because the opposition group (whom they were fighting against) had conquered the most important places in the city, including the major hospitals. At the time, I was working as an auxiliary nurse at Digfeer General Hospital (in Mogadishu) and I knew that there was a group of physiotherapists there, helping and providing crutches to the hospital patients. Though I was putting myself in great danger (because if anybody found out that I was helping the other group, I would be in serious trouble, and could even be killed), I still had the desire and resilience to get more than 17 crutches and I alone carried them, walking more than 7 miles to give to the patients in need. Although they didn’t ask me, I couldn’t resist trying to help, and what made my day was seeing the smiles on their faces.
Little did I know, the more I give, the more I got back…
As I went on with life, doing good deeds and serving others in need either through volunteering with different charities/NGOs or independently, I so often came across challenges in my own life and the life of the communities around me. I then realised that I have a lot to offer…
In March 2010, I established Eva Organization for Women (EOW-Charity), a UK-registered charity (registered number 1156347) driven to help to improve lives of individuals who are in charitable need, in particular women, their families and young people, both in the UK and Somalia. For more information, please visit: www.eow-charity.org
On behalf of EOW-Charity, I visited Mogadishu, Somalia, in August 2011 to do humanitarian work in the children’s ward in Banaadir Hospital and to feed refugees in the refugee camps in Mogadishu, and where also, I was one of the few people who hosted K’Naan (a Somali musician and poet) in his visit to Mogadishu, Somalia in 2011 (read more about K’Naan’s trip to Somalia “Returning to Somalia After 20 Years” New York Times).
I stayed in Somalia for several weeks. The majority of that time was spent helping the needy, identifying the people and groups who needed the help and typing up the expectations and the structure of the project. Several days were spent in the children’s ward, helping injured children and several other days were spent at the refugee camps, distributing food and money. This trip was the start of EOW-Charity’s project for Somalia of which I launched the pilot that included “Teaching how to fish – Enterprising Women in Somalia” and “Operation Read to Learn” –building a library and “Giving the Light of Life” – sponsoring Somali orphans and underprivileged children.
Additionally, I am a mentor, and also volunteer as one of the trustees at Aqoon School-Home Support Services, in Leicester. I am also one of the few Somali leaders active in the UK (Somali Voice), trained by the Media Trust in media interview skills (TV, radio, print) to act as multi-skilled spokesperson on behalf of the Somali community.
So, keep in mind that being a philanthropist is not being rich but it is about giving something very valuable back to these who are in need. That valuable thing could be your time, knowledge or money.
P.S. my work as a philanthropist is not limited to the above mentioned events but some of it will hopefully be published sometime soon!