ARAB TIMES, WEDNESDAY, MAY 4, 2011 31 Mother’s Day Breakfast celebrates ‘giving’ Operation Hope touching more lives By Claudia Farkas Al Rashoud unfortunate individuals have used Special to the Arab Times all their savings or gone heavily into debt in order to come to work O nce again, Sheryll Mairza’s Annual Mother’s Day Breakfast was a resounding suc- in Kuwait, only to face deportation upon diagnosis of the disease. Were it not for Operation HOPE cess. Now in its seventeenth year, helping with their repatriation and the much-anticipated event always providing them with some seed attracts a large crowd of ladies of money to begin a new life in their many different nationalities and home country, all hope of them raises funds for Operation HOPE building a better future for them- Kuwait: A Mission of Mercy (OH). This year the breakfast was held in selves and their families would be The ONE Cafe at Marina Mall, a lost. lovely new venue for a long-estab- Rehabilitation lished tradition that combines Last month, Operation HOPE fundraising with fellowship, food, raised KD 3,700 in order for a and fun. Filipina woman to be medically The ladies at the breakfast were evacuated, travelling to the enthusiastic participants in all the Philippines with an accompanying games and activities which includ- nurse by air as requested by her ed a scavenger hunt and quiz consulting neurologist at Kuwait’s games. Enhancing their experience Ibn Sina Hospital. “This 61-year was the knowledge that all the old woman had suffered a severe money paid for entrance and raffle stroke and has numerous medical tickets goes towards the very wor- complications and thus requires thy activities of Operation HOPE. extensive physical therapy and Many of the guests present have been attending the breakfast since rehabilitation. Now she will be able it began as a small gathering to to undergo the rest of her treatment commemorate American Mother’s in her own country, with the sup- Day which falls on the second port of her surrounding family and Sunday in May. Among them was friends,” says Sheryll. Wendy Al Omani who took the In another incident, Operation microphone to pay a heartfelt trib- HOPE has come to the aid of an ute to Sheryll for all the hard work, Ethiopian domestic worker who planning, and effort that she puts fell out of a fifth-story window and into staging this very successful has had to have her arm amputated and enjoyable event. as a result. “We are working to Fundraiser raise the KD 450 required for a prosthetic arm by asking for dona- Newcomers to the annual tions. After she is fitted with the fundraiser were also impressed. prosthesis and learns how to use it, Irene Lau, a public relations execu- we will have her repatriated to her tive visiting from Australia, home,” says Sheryll. remarked, “It was wonderful to be Sheryll’s organisation also helps with so many spirited women, all getting behind such a worthy poor expatriate families that have cause. What made it different to encountered temporary financial other fundraising events was the difficulties due to the illness or fun these women had playing the death of a head of household and games planned by Sheryll. The has even repatriated the remains of atmosphere was fabulous because poor expatriates who passed away the women were all enjoying each in Kuwait but whose sponsors were other’s company, greeting old unwilling to shoulder the financial friends and making new ones in a burden. room full of laughter and fun. “It is for cases such as these that “I always believe that people we really need the continued sup- really want to give to charity and port of the local community,” they enjoy giving. If you make it Sheryll remarks. easy for them to give they really Distribution come through for you, and that’s Sheryll explained that one of what Sheryll has done.” Operation HOPE, the charity their major projects this year is the founded by Sheryll, is an amazing construction of a building called example of how just a few good (HOPE) House. The building will people who commit themselves to serve as premises for the piles of action can really make a profound donated items such as new and difference to alleviate suffering and Sheryll Mairza, founder and director of Operation Hope, (front, second from left) with guests at the Mother’s Day Breakfast. used clothing, blankets, and house- improve the lives of many less for- hold items that must be sorted and tunate individuals. Like the bagged before distribution. Mother’s Day Breakfast, Operation “For the past seven years we’ve HOPE has blossomed from humble been using a tent in the back of my origins into a dynamic and cohe- garden to store and sort our sup- sive force of Kuwaiti and expatri- plies. With the completion of this ate volunteers who work for the building we’ll have a place where well-being of poor third country our volunteers can work comfort- nationals in Kuwait. ably and they and our supplies will The impetus for Operation Hope be sheltered from the heat and dust came on a freezing cold November in summer and the rain and cold in day in 2004, when Sheryll saw a winter,” Sheryll said. “(HOPE) pathetic-looking Bangladeshi House will be located on my fami- cleaner dressed in a thin yellow ly’s property in Rumaithiya and uniform, with sockless feet clad in should be ready for use by mid- worn-out shoes several sizes too September. Up until this time we big. That same day, unable to get will be accepting cash donations the image of the forlorn worker out only, and not any clothing or other of her mind, Sheryll and her items.” Kuwaiti husband, Hussein, went to On the Operation HOPE website the shopping area where the man (www.operation-hope-kuwait.com) was working and gave him winter Left: Haya Al Munnayes from the Gulf Bank, main sponsor of the event accepts a certificate of thanks from Sheryll Mairza. Center: Sheryll Mairza (centre) with there are many testimonies from clothes and proper shoes. His guests at the 17th Annual Mother’s Day Breakfast. Right: Cheri Al Arfaj (left), winner of one of the quilts, with Operation Hope volunteer Jerry Ismael. sponsors and volunteers to the truly expression of surprise and grateful- valuable work being carried out by ness for their act of kindness is the organisation. Also notable is something they will never forget. the sense of achievement and satis- Reception faction that volunteers receive by That Christmas, rather than hold- serving those in need. ing her usual reception for family This spirit of service to others and friends, Sheryll asked her was embodied by the volunteers at guests if they would consider dis- the Mother’s Day Breakfast: Jerry tributing winter clothes to poor Ismaiel, Shereen Abraham, Alia Al workers instead. The response was Omani, Em Em Udo, and Kathleen overwhelming and in less than Nicholson. Support also came from three weeks, Sheryll and her new far afield, in the form of two hand- team of volunteers collected and made quilts that were raffled off to distributed some 1,150 winter gift raise funds. One was made by a bags each containing a new rain- woman in Wyoming and the other resistant coat, hat, gloves, and was stitched by a lady who lives in socks. New York. Since then Sheryll has never Concluding the event, Sheryll looked back. With boundless ener- thanked the main sponsor, the Gulf gy and unflagging effort she has Bank, and their representative, dedicated herself to her cause. Guests supporting Operation Hope Photos by Claudia Farkas Al-Rashoud Haya Al Munnayes, as well as Since that cold winter day seven Getting together for a good cause Sharon Margolis of The ONE, for years ago, Operation Hope has dis- tributed a total of more than 26,000 case-by-case basis as needs arise; to scouts, the British Ladies Society, ing with us. Bayan Bilingual tomorrow’s leaders.” their phenomenal support. Sheryll winter warmth bags. offer opportunities for families of the American Women’s League, and School students often organise Sheryll is happy to report that said, “I also want to extend my sin- The money needed to accom- the local and expatriate community the Spanish-speaking ladies group fundraising events on behalf of despite the recent global financial cere gratitude to the many other plish this feat and to continue to serve together; to provide at least (OLEK). Operation HOPE and some of their crisis, Operation HOPE is still able sponsors who have generously sup- expanding the mission is collected 5,000 needy workers with warm National Honor Society students are to carry out its important work with ported us: the Original Basket Volunteers Boutique, OBBME, Bassinet Gift through a wide variety of creative winter apparel every year; and to fulfilling their community service the help of donations and support fundraising activities including equip embassy shelters with cloth- “Almost every private English- requirement by volunteering for for events from local companies, Store, Little Treats, Bateel, Mais Al bake sales, rummage sales, partici- ing, blankets, and other basic neces- language school in the country has us.” banks, and businesses. “Some of Ghanim, Epitome, Andrea Szopa pation in local bazaars, and the sities. become involved with Operation We would like to see the involve- our sponsors even choose to remain (“Treasures In The Sand”), Lovely hosting of various events for which Sheryll has actually gone far HOPE,” says Sheryll. “A group of ment of students from the local anonymous, thus embodying the Things, Asseef Restaurant at the an admission fee is charged. The beyond these stated goals by chan- between eight to fifteen students government schools and hope that true meaning of philanthropy,” she Four Points Sheraton, Al Hambra largest and most famous of these nelling her efforts into creating a from the British School of Kuwait this is something that will happen says. Restaurant at the Kuwait Sheraton, activities is the Annual Mother’s highly effective organisation with a come to help at our weekly dona- in the future,” Sheryll continues. “If Operation HOPE expanded its Beauty Bar, and Agapanthus.” Day Breakfast held every spring. dedicated team of volunteers. She tion sorting sessions every Saturday young people become entrenched in activities to include aiding poor If you’d like to lend your support Operation Hope’s major goals to has recruited volunteers from morning. Students from the community service then many prob- third country nationals who are to Operation HOPE, contact them benefit the nation of Kuwait are as groups and institutions including American International School are lems and issues will be resolved. found to have tuberculosis after at operationhopekuwait@- follows: to help individuals on a local private schools, girl and boy also regularly committed to work- After all, today’s students are arrival in Kuwait. Many of these yahoo.com.