FOR A SMILE, Nesreddin, HCI Executive Director, Ottawa


FOR A SMILE, Nesreddin, HCI Executive Director, Ottawa

The girl was cheerful and bubbly, dressed in a delicately patterned pastel blue sholawar kameej with a matching dupatta. Tania Akther Beauty welcomed her guest to her family home. She asked the visitor how much sugar they would like in their tea. She smiled and nodded at the answer and continued to tell them of her day. Once all present were seated with steaming cups of cardamom tea, the visitor addressed the girl.

They were representatives from Human Concern International (HCI), and were making inquiries about the support program.

How was your experience so far? – They asked.

Tania smiled and nodded in her characteristic way and spoke of the first stages of the program. She had been nominated by her school in her district of Kamrangirchar. Her excellent grades and personal circumstances made her a good candidate for the project set up as a means of community outreach and support. HCI had contacted her family and school principal and formally invited her and her immediate family to attend a ceremony.

There were so many other children from other schools, it was so festive! – She exclaimed to the visitor. The ceremony was organised by HCI and its partners and was designed to provide the selected children with a decent livelihood. There was a personal gift to each child: a formal dress and some educational supplies. Apart from that, their families received a package of basic necessities: rice, pulses, cooking oil, sugar, salt and other items. Aside from that, they have a program in place to provide medicine and shelter if need be.

The bag had a nice red design on it that looked like a butterfly, Tania told the visitor. It still reminds me of the pleasant evening.

Ever since my father passed away, she continued with a slight waver in her voice, my family was in a difficult situation. The supplies, she explained, had really helped her family out. She told the visitor that she wants to work hard and take care of her family and other girls in her situation when she grows up just as HCI had helped her family out.

She was very grateful to have been part of the Human Concern International Child Sponsorship Program, and thanked the visitor for checking in on her and her family. She told them that even though she shared everything that came with the package, there was one thing she kept for herself. The visitor inquired as to what that might be.

Standing up to show her pretty clothes, Tania smiled and nodded.

Human Concern International is Canada’s oldest Muslim relief commission, and strives to aid communities locally and internationally. Their food basket and child sponsorship programmes reach all across the globe and provide relief to thousands of children. Visit for more info.