The phone rang at midnight in Oujda, Morocco on Friday, July 27th. The voice at the other end announced that his majesty Mohammed VI, the King of Morocco, would be sending me a letter on the occasion of the grand opening of our new home and that I must be ready to receive it the following morning. Between disbelief and excitement, I found it rather difficult to sleep that night. I kept thinking about how amazing and full of mercy our Lord is – He continuously blesses me and my GiveLight family in our effort to build yet another beautiful home.
The road to the finish line has been long and arduous. In 2013, we received a beautiful land donation in Casablanca. Sadly, after spending a lot of time and effort while getting all the paperwork/permit done, we lost it due to a dispute amongst family members who shared the inheritance. For almost a year, we searched for a new location until a gentleman decided to donate a large piece of land in Oujda. This new land was on a foothill overlooking an expansive green field and the Algerian mountains.
We began construction in early 2016 with the goal of finishing by early 2018. A dear friend and architect, Wafaa Sabil, designed the original blueprint. She later introduced me to Sech Wachtel, who is the director of the department of architecture at USF. Sech along with twenty of his students further developed the design. We then took that design to a local architect firm and asked them to build a home reflecting the beauty of Moroccan architecture and, more importantly, a home that would be filled with light. The outcome is what you are about to see here.
Everything about our Moroccan home is awe-inspiring – from the front facade, lobby, kitchen, prayer room, Moroccan Salon, and library to the garden. Everyone who enters immediately feels at home.
There is ample space for our kids to play and an abundance of natural light coming from every direction.
The house stands as a testament to His mercy and to our desire to build a beautiful future for His orphans. On the day of the inauguration, a seal of approval came in the form of a letter from none other than King Mohammed VI himself.
On the morning of July 2018, the royal tent and red carpet were set up in our home.
Men in uniforms and traditional Moroccan attire lined up to welcome the governor, who was sent to bring me the letter. A marching band, folk dancers and more than half a dozen camera men from local TV stations were onsite, setting the stage for a festive inauguration.
I was given the honor of cutting the ribbon first, followed by the mayor, then our local partner, and finally the governor. We then walked into the spacious lobby, where the letter was presented to me in a beautiful red leather binder. I was asked to read the letter aloud. All cameras zoomed in as I read every word, in awe of how our Creator orchestrated every detail.
We continued with the walkthrough of our home and then had the reception. Our garden, inspired by “Jardin de Majorelle” in Marrakesh, was a perfect setting.
The best part was that our kids got to enjoy the drinks, tarts and sweets as well, which were beautifully presented by a professional caterer. What a treat for them to experience.
TV interviews and a lunch reception at the mayor’s house followed.
The food and set up were lavish enough for a royal. One other very important event took place – we signed an agreement for the Moroccan government to provide free water and electricity as well as to help with the salary of the employees. Amazing! As if that were not enough, the Moroccan government presented us with a lovely painting for the lobby and a beautiful gold necklace for me.
The wonderful inauguration and the lavish reception were all sponsored generously by the Government and at no cost to us.
I felt a deep gratitude flowing in my heart. I must admit that I truly felt like a queen, ready to spread more love and touch more lives. With a heart full of love, I will continue to build beautiful dreams for children around the world.
The wonderful inauguration and the lavish reception were all sponsored generously by the Government and at no cost to us. I felt a deep gratitude flowing in my heart. I must admit that I truly felt like a queen, ready to spread more love and touch more lives. With a heart full of love, I will continue to build beautiful dreams for children around the world.
As for this home, I have shared so much joy and laughter with our girls since the day that we first met. We enjoyed delicious meals prepared by two skilled cooks, we sang, we recited Qur’an over and over. We prayed in our beautiful mushola (prayer hall), played dodge-ball, and read colorful story books. Our love for each other was evident. In the days that we spent together, we exchanged many warm kisses and embraces.
I am deeply grateful to all of you who made this dream possible – especially to those who gave so generously to build and complete this particular home. You are all in my prayers. Special thanks to our partner ABPO and the team of volunteers in particular my Moroccan uncle Boumama Ghaouti who spent the last two years working hard to oversee the construction. And special thanks also goes to our team leads from South Africa, Warda Albertyn and Nasierah Saiet, who journeyed to be with us on the inauguration. Last but not least, Im thankful to Moussa Ibn Yacoub, Phung Salam and Ebtisam from Bani Street for joining us from Paris. I look forward to our collaboration in Paris to help street children find a better future. Here are the clips of interviews with them.
Now that we have built our Moroccan home, our “Maison de Lumiere” (“House of Light”), it is time for our most important task – raising amazing girls who will become our pride and joy as well as the pride and joy of Morocco, God willing. Please join me on this noble quest by supporting our children and home . The letter from the King will be engraved in my heart but it belongs to the Givelight Family, especially the children for whom our work exists. May God, the most merciful bless you and us all.
Please view our full album here.