By Youssef Sourgo
By Youssef Sourgo
Morocco World News
Casablanca, May 6, 2013
In all its forms, philanthropy accelerates the pace of development by means of engaging all members of civil society in the process. Helping the impoverished, educating the illiterate, lending a hand to people with physical difficulties or mental health issues are all instances of philanthropic initiatives.
In Morocco, a nation on the path of development, philanthropy is highly crucial. Numerous are those Moroccans who have realized this, and numerous are those who have astounded us with their achievements in humanistic ventures.
The initiative “1001 Wheelchairs for 1001 Smiles” still echoes as an outstanding example of a successful Moroccan philanthropic project. This initiative set the social incorporation of children with physical difficulties as its central aim. The benefiters were Moroccan children who were in need of wheelchairs but could not afford them. Owing to the determination of its initiator and the benignity of all the Moroccans who contributed to it, the initiative “1001 Wheelchairs for 1001 Smiles” succeeded in drawing the promised 1001 smiles on the innocent faces of so many Moroccan children. But who is the person behind this outstanding philanthropic project?
Her name is Doha Benchekchou, a young woman who has chosen the path of the “hope-granter”. She is today recognized for having painted heartwarming smiles on the faces of numerous Moroccan children with physical handicaps. Doha prefers to call them “handi-capable,” in recognition of their tremendous potential, a potential that society sometimes fails to recognize. “The message I want to disseminate through this project is to tell beneficiaries that one might be with special needs, but that does not mean one can’t achieve and be successful. What we need is strong wills, ambition and courage,” she said.
Doha Benchekchou studied management and marketing, but her heart became increasingly inclined towards philanthropic ventures and humanistic endeavors. Her determination and willpower made that all of her social ventures yielded outstanding results, and the initiative “1001 Wheelchairs for 1001 Smiles” remains her greatest achievements. “During a visit to a Moroccan orphanage, I saw so many children with physical difficulties who did not have wheelchairs,” shared Doha Benchekchou with the magazine Citadine, as she explained what motivated her to initiate the ‘1001 Wheelchairs’ project. “I then decided to devote my time to helping children who are as much part of this society as anybody else,” added a determined Benchekchou.
At the very start, her philanthropic project appeared daunting and challenging, but her determination and enthusiasm enabled her to achieve success in less time than what had initially been anticipated. Doha said, “It is our duty as a soceity, regardless of our ranks or affinities, to make a contribution to the betterment of our community. It is our collective and civic responsibility to conduct collaborative and participatory actions.”
Her initiative did not only shed light on the needs of Moroccans with physical handicaps, but also demonstrated the willingness of many Moroccans to take part in the social development of their country, as they generously contributed to her project. Doha Benchekchou still aspires to give more to her country by helping those who are in need of her. Morocco, in turn, is in urgent need of more Doha Benchekchous.
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