Rabat - 24-year-old Mehdi Benkirane is a Moroccan orphan who turned his tragedies into successful story of overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds.
Rabat – 24-year-old Mehdi Benkirane is a Moroccan orphan who turned his tragedies into successful story of overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds.
In order to learn more Mehdi Benkirane’s life, Morocco World News interviewed him to highlight his career and his startup organization’s main objectives.
MWN: Could you please introduce yourself?
Mehdi Benkirane: My name is Mehdi Benkirane, founder and president of Children of the Heart.
MWN: What are your motivations behind creating this organization?
Mehdi Benkirane: The drive I have for creating this organization comes from my adoptive mother. I was born as an orphan and I’ve never met my biological parents. My biological parents left me in a charity center in Fez when I was only four months old. Since I was a child, my adoptive mother used to take me to the charity center to see my orphan friends so I wouldn’t forget my roots. After many years of social work, I came up with the idea of creating a similar organization in Rabat.
MWN: What are the requirements for someone who wants to join Children of the Heart?
Mehdi Benkirane: Our doors are open to everyone, especially Moroccan youth because we are in dire need of youth. Joining us is very easy because we are not asking for any money upon joining, but rather basic materials like clothes, baby bottles and simple medicines. We are also trying as much as possible to provide our children with new clothing so that they don’t feel any more different from their outside friends than they already do. We really want to provide them with new items only.
MWN: Do you receive any financial support from the government?
Mehdi Benkirane: Unfortunately, the government does not provide us with any financial support; I only receive moral support from our Head of Governmen, Abdelilah Benkirane. I would love to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Othman Benjelloun and Mrs. Ghita Zniber for providing us with help whenever we needed it.
MWN: What are Children of the Heart’s main goals or objectives?
Mehdi Benkirane: We are asking the Moroccan government to ratify a proposal to protect orphans’ rights. If we protect today’s children, we will protect our future generations.
MWN: Could you please elaborate more on your organization’s upcoming projects?
Mehdi Benkirane: We are officially announcing today for MWN readers that we plan to inaugurate eighteen children centers across Morocco, starting in 2015 in collaboration with the National Observatory of Children’s Rights.
MWN: Would you please share with our readers the best and worst moments of your life thus far?
Mehdi Benkirane: To be honest with you, I wasn’t expecting this question. Well, I’d love to thank God from the bottom of my heart for my adoptive family, because I know that I’m lucky to even have a family. Eighty percent of orphans aren’t as lucky as I am and truly don’t have a home. I’m also extremely happy because I was able to finish my higher studies and achieve a dream I’ve had since I was a little boy. Since I was child, I’ve dreamed of being an animator and, Alhamdulillah, I recently accomplished this dream. I’ve started working at Société Nationale de Radiodiffusion et de Télévision (SNRT) three months ago. For the worst event in my life, I’d say that the threats I’ve recently received because of this famous movement in Morocco are probably the worst things to happen to me so far.
MWN: Do you have anything special to add?
Mehdi Benkirane: Love one another, be yourself, don’t let someone else to tell you what you are going to be or not going to be because God has created you and God doesn’t make mistakes.
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