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Kuwait: Operation Hope Keeps on Giving

Brava, Sheryl Mairza, brava for the good work you are doing that makes so much difference in so many lives. May God bless the work of your hands! From the Kuwait Times:

Spreading cheer in the land

Sheryll Mairza

Operation Hope, an NGO established by Sheryll Mairza, is touching people’s lives throughout the world. A grassroots humanitarian outreach that is motivated by compassion to alleviate suffering in Kuwait, Operation Hope serves those in the greatest of need through the support of the local and international community. Since 2005, more than 50,000 bags of winter clothing have been distributed to impoverished workers in Kuwait.

Operation Hope is now slowly reaching out to people around the world through organizations and individuals. After the recent typhoon in the Philippines, Operation Hope contributed relief goods for the affected areas.

“For the Philippines, we contributed some of our collected goods when we were approached by organizations and individuals to help them in their relief efforts. We have a lot of gently used clothes ready to be sold, but we gave it to third party organizations that shipped it to typhoon victims in Philippines,” Mairza said.

Another instance where Operation Hope reached out to people of other countries was through a proxy. Mairza said a Gambian woman who wanted to stock her library with books had her wish fulfilled. “We were approached by a woman from Gambia who had started a drive to fill her local library with books so she could help boost the literacy rate of adults there. We have an abundance of books here, so we helped her and shipped the books to Gambia,” she said.

According to Mairza, Operation Hope has a very limited budget and people to do international relief efforts, but through third party organizations, they can reach people on the other sides of the world. “We cooperate with people in areas where need arises. If people there want to start volunteering work similar to Operation Hope, they can do so. I allow the use of Operation Hope’s plans,” she mentioned. “I don’t personally want to go to different places to set up Operation Hope. If volunteers like to spread it in other countries and set up their own NGOs, they can take my blueprint and apply it there. They can be founders of Operation Hope for example in Malaysia, Indonesia or Philippines. I will be happy to share the formula I used to set up this NGO,” she said.

Creative Ways

Mairza admitted Operation Hope was affected by the global financial crisis of 2008, which saw a great decline of support from donors. “When it became evident that support was dwindling, we came up with more creative ways to keep the funds flowing. We started Christmas bazaars and sold used clothes and kitchenware to raised funds. With the support of locals and expats, we opened a boutique inside a compound of my in-laws’ house to sell gently used household items.

The need is great and extended beyond winter, so we organized more frequent bazaars. A vast place in my in-laws’ property in Rumaithiya was utilized to display the products. We received so many donations – from toys to clothes to household things – that we didn’t know where to put them; even the embassy shelters had no place to store all of it, so I thought of selling these items,” Mairza said. “With the help of the British Society of Kuwait, we renovated the facility and opened it on January 12, 2012. We are generating income from it and we distribute it in the form of tickets for the repatriation of runaway maids. We also regularly send toiletries and sanitary products for women in the shelters of the Ethiopia, Nepal, Philippines and Sri Lanka embassies,” she explained.

A few months ago, according to Mairza, an Ethiopian woman fell from the third floor of her employer’s house, and her leg was amputated. “Operation Hope provided her with a prosthetic leg, and we helped her rehabilitation,” she noted.

Asked on how he she was able to monitor and control the flow of donations to Operation Hope, she said, “We don’t keep a substantial amount of money in the bank. Whatever we get we give it right away to the needy. We need donations to flow regularly to carry out the work at Operation Hope. We are also lucky to have the support of a woman from the Behbehani family, who has a heart of gold. She is always ready to contribute; always ready to support us financially and emotionally and with words of encouragement. She is a shining star, and one of the Kuwaitis who have been contributing to our cause. This woman calls us and asks what else she can contribute. She is very passionate about helping and serving others

Charity Work
The need for a charity work is great according to Mairza. Apart from individuals and organizations, she is also thankful for the support given to her by educational institutions in Kuwait. “I get phenomenal support from schools. They are very helpful and volunteer time and effort to collect things,” she added.

Mairza dreams a time will come when Operation Hope is no longer needed. “I know this dream is very idealistic, that the gap between the haves and have-nots will narrow,” she said. Realistically, her vision is to continue moving forward to raise the younger generation to be aware of realities and look beyond their personal goals and ambitions.

“I want them to see the persons to their left and right, because at the end of the day, we are brothers and sisters. We come from different places, but we are all brothers and sisters. We need to continue to strive to support and help one another,” she mentioned.

In May 2013, she was presented with $10,000, an award she received for inspiring women of the GCC, sponsored by Philadelphia cheese. “It was a very amazing award which I used to add to our winter program. It was a huge blessing for us,” she concluded.

By Ben Garcia

December 26, 2013 Posted by | Biography, Character, Charity, Community, Cross Cultural, Cultural, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Living Conditions | , | Leave a comment

Operation Hope News Flash

Those of you who read regularly know I am a great fan of people who see a need and have the courage to tackle it. One of those people here in Kuwait is Sheryll Mairza, who feeds and clothes the poorest of the poor – mostly laborers who are not paid. With her vision and enthusiasm, she has provided for – literally – thousands in Kuwait. Provided warm clothing in cold winter months, provided meals, provided basic necessities. Her most recent quest is below:

Operation Hope Kuwait would like to promote a used shoe drive to benefit farm-hands working in Abdalli, Kuwait… preferably sports shoes and/or work boots. Last Saturday a small group of dedicated volunteers went to Abdalli to deliver used clothing, which was collected by AGILITY LOGISTICS. While there they noticed that many of the workers had barely any sole left on the shoes they wore.

Currently am hoping a local private school will open its doors to receive donations from August 1 – 10. If you’ll stay in touch with me I can get you the final drop-point details.

Again ~ many thanks for your support! God bless, Sheryll

I don’t know about you, but I tend to buy new athletic shoes often – I like a fresh springy step :-). She probably isn’t looking for your daintiest 4 inch spikes from last season, but shoes with some life and some support left in them. As she gives out further information, I will keep you informed. Meanwhile – gather your old shoes and save them for Operation Hope!

July 24, 2008 Posted by | Community, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Fund Raising, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Social Issues | | 4 Comments

Operation Hope Newsletter

Hot off the press!

Greetings OH Family,

Lots of exciting news to share with you! On Wednesday, by God’s grace 1,027 bags were distributed!! The grateful recipients of our labor bore mile-wide smiles, while some had looks of disbelief as we handed out winter bags to them. If you haven’t been on a distribution this (or a previous) year, please DO try as you’ll be blessed beyond measure as you come face to face with our needy brothers and sisters. You’ll never be the same after the experience ~ but don’t just take my word for it ~ come out with us to find out for yourself!

We have had a request to serve the TCN workers at Al Jahra Hospital. A date for that distribution will be forthcoming.

Rumaithiya street cleaners (all 120 of them) received a winter bag on Saturday. Today 250 street cleaners for Salmiya area received their winter bags; and tomorrow, by God’s grace the Salwa cleaners (150) will receive theirs! OH wishes to provide the same for as many neighborhood cleaning crews as possible, SO if you can find out where the buses load and unload for your area we’ll organize a distribution for them.

Thank you to the Catholic Church in Kuwait City for a donation of KD 50 from their summer library proceeds ~ also, to the BLS for their donation of toiletries, which we’ll give to the Philippine Embassy very soon.

Your patronage to the following activities will add support to OH’s fundraising efforts:
· November 10th: Harvest Festival at N.E.C.K
· November 11th: Beauty Bazaar in Salwa
· November 16th: Fall Bazaar in Mubarak Al Kabeer
· November 17th: KTAA Bazaar @ the Dar Al Cid
· December 4th: BLS Bazaar @ Al Hashemi (SAS Hotel)
· December 8th: AWL Charity Bazaar

For more details on exact location and timings, please contact Becky & Chelly on ophopevolunteer@yahoo.com

OH’s 2nd packing of 1,200 winter bags commenced last Friday. Called Student Day we were assisted by scout troops, the ASK National Honor Society, and many other students of varying ages and backgrounds. What an awesome sight to see our children knee-deep in charity work. My hope is that their experience will be remembered (and carried out) for a lifetime! Thank you to everyone who participated!

Thanks also to the New English School teachers who spent their ½ day off on Wednesday to help load vehicles for our deliveries! While they could have spent the day doing something else they chose to spend their time helping us to help others! What a blessing!!

OH needs more volunteers to pack this Friday, November 9th at 3:30 PM. A small set-up team is also needed that day to arrive at 2:30 PM. 1,200 bags must be packed that day so we’ll need a lot of hands on deck! Please RSVP your commitment to Kathleen on ophopevolunteer@yahoo.com

Thanks to Barbara R. for hosting a very fun and successful Bunco fundraising event for us today! We raised KD 125 having fun and so can you! If you are interested in helping to raise much needed funds to cover the cost of our winter bags, please contact Chelly and/or Becky on ohq8fundraiser@yahoo.com. Simply gather your circle of friends for a quiz night, talent show, Bunco, dinner party, or whatever you wish! It gives your friends something fun to do, but moreover it helps us to help others!

Someone asked me a few days ago if I ever get discouraged by the enormity of our job in helping the poor living in Kuwait. The truth is ~ yes. When I am depending upon my own abilities to get the work done I feel very discouraged.

A wise young Australian man who was born without limbs said this, “The awesome thing about the power of God, is that if we want to do something for Him, instead of focusing on our capabilities, we should concentrate on our availability. Once we make ourselves available for God’s work, guess whose capabilities we rely on? GOD”

So when discouragement comes over me I return (with humility) under the authority and leadership of the Almighty in this mission of mercy that I might become available so that His capabilities may be glorified.

November 7, 2007 Posted by | Communication, Community, Cross Cultural, Events, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Social Issues, Spiritual | , , | 12 Comments