Dear HOPE Friends,
Today we wanted to share a special firsthand report written by one of our generous supporters, Mehmudah Rehman. Mehmudah and her family visited HOPE's home schools in Kashmir in July. She documented her experiences with exquisite words and pictures. We are ever so grateful to Mehmudah and her family for taking the time to visit these remote areas and share her experiences with us. Below, please find Mehmudah's experience written in her own words.
Mehmudah is an accomplished freelance journalist whose editorials often appear in newspapers and magazines across the Middle East.
The HOPE USA Team
Kashmir, 21 July, 2022
An experience to cherish
By Mehmudah Rehman
Touching down in the lush green mountains of Muzaffarabad literally took our breath away. As the gushing rivers welcomed us into the city I did not what to expect, but I knew one thing. It would be special.
And special it was. The few days spent in Muzaffarabad with the HOPE Team were an out of this world experience for me and my children. Living privileged sheltered lives in Dubai, we had never known what it meant to be able to go to school for these children and how rewarding it would be for us to meet them, give them gifts and watch their performances. The schools run like any good institution does, with a proper curriculum and extra curricular activities in place. Teachers are experienced and qualified and genuinely care about their charges — most teachers here have been with HOPE schools for over a decade! The parents are proud and grateful because HOPE schools across the network and virtually free of charge.
I had seen photos of the schools many times but visiting them was a different experience altogether. What impressed me was the children’s confidence, their smiles and positivity and their evident desire to put up a great show at their annual awards ceremony. The HOPE school nestled in the mountains was a simple but beautiful place — my children said it would be lovely to get out of class and get that stunning view! Later, after the lovely ceremony we were treated to a delicious meal of sarson ka saag, makaii ki roti and akhrot ki chutney, all prepared by the school teachers lovingly, and to perfection!
I am extremely grateful to Dr Mubina and her conscientious team for allowing us to experience this. They have shown us what true hospitality is, and they have welcomed us with open arms and open hearts. Dr Mubinas house here in Kashmir has a small clinic running in it and it is heartwarming to see patients walking in and being treated completely free of charge.
Special word of thanks to the HOPE Coordinator Ms Fozia who has left no stone unturned in making us comfortable. All in all, this has been an experience to cherish and I hope I am able to learn and implement some meaningful life lessons from it. Kudos and congratulations to the team for making it happen. Alhamdulillah!