KT celebrates hope: Filmmaker puts smiles on children's faces

Through her work that mostly depended on crowdfunding, M’nasria supported 600 Kenyan children in five orphanages.
Through her work that mostly depended on crowdfunding, M'nasria supported 600 Kenyan children in five orphanages.

The girl, who was mistreated by her adoptive family, had developed a binge-eating disorder when she was offered little meals from time to time.



by

A Staff Reporter

Published: Tue 30 Apr 2019, 11:30 PM

Last updated: Wed 1 May 2019, 1:34 AM

Eager to make a positive change in people's lives, a UAE-based filmmaker and TV producer found her true calling during a trip to Kenya where she saw an orphan girl sharing her little meals with other children.
The girl, who was mistreated by her adoptive family, had developed a binge-eating disorder when she was offered little meals from time to time.
"The girl ate so much to fill her stomach as she did not know when she will eat next," said Tunisian Jihad M'nasria, who was astonished by the girl's kind gesture with other children despite the mistreatment and starvation she had experienced.
"No one taught her to share her small meal  - she did it by instinct. Her act proved to me that people are born with goodness in them," she said.
Attempting to break the ice between her and the children, M'nasria was touched when the kids "reacted in a strange manner" as she tried to snap a selfie with them. "It was the first time they see the reflection of their faces, and it was on my mobile screen." Moved by the lives she had seen during her visit to five orphanages in Kenya, the 34-year-old founded her non-profit organisation 'Play for Smiles' to improve the lives of vulnerable children in rural communities by providing playgrounds, shelter, education, nutrition and water.
"One orphanage we visited was simply an area where eight to 10 children shared one mattress." After providing orphanages with proper beds, M'nasria designed 350 shoes for children as part of her mission to equip them for school.
"A third of the children in the orphanage never wore shoes and the majority did not know their sizes. Most of them had only one shoe or wore two left or right shoes."
Through her work that mostly depended on crowdfunding, M'nasria supported 600 Kenyan children in five orphanages. She built five playgrounds and entertainment parks in orphanages that cater to 100 children each.
"One of the fundamental rights of children is to play. Living in less fortunate slum areas, children play with tyres or iron pieces on the streets."
M'nasria arranged summer camps and trips to public parks and nearby resorts for the children who had otherwise never been out of the underprivileged area they lived in.
"Doing good lies in simple things, especially for children who do not require efforts to know you love and care for them." She looks to take her journey of spreading smiles to Nepal, India, Sudan and Tanzania.
How Play for Smiles spreads hope
>Supports children in rural communities by providing playgrounds, shelter, education, nutrition and water
>Built playgrounds and entertainment parks in orphanages that cater to 100 children each
>Provided proper beds to orphanages and shoes for schoolkids
>Arranged summer camps and trips to public parks and resorts
 reporters@khaleejtimes.com
 


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