My GiveLight Journey

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"Recently, a team of volunteers from Salesforce went to our home in Oujda. In four days, they were able to do arts and crafts, computer lab setup, internet tutorials, cookie baking and decoration, games, Kung Fu, dancing and ultimately creating memories that will last a lifetime. Ansa Obaid shares her reflection with GiveLight team. 

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At the 2018 Salesforce’s first Eid celebration, Dian shared her fascinating story of love, courage and transforming her pain into a lifetime of good. Among the audience was Betty Yip who connected instantly with me when I shared my desire to some day visit Givelight Morocco. She and I brainstormed the proposal and fast forward to December 2019, we embarked on a journey of our lifetime along with two other colleagues, Aruna Dhall and Momina Haider. We were excited that Noura Oughanem and Asmaa Kheroum from Salesforce, Casablanca would also join our volunteering team at the Givelight home in Oujda.

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Nothing would have prepared us for the next four days. We were blown away by the love, hugs and kisses that we received. Firstly, the shy encounters at the lunch tables transformed into curiosity to get to know each other as the evening approached. Aruna was treated as a Bollywood celebrity when the girls found out that she is originally from India. They inquired why she wasn’t wearing a sari and if she has ever met Bollywood actors. Ayesha brought a storybook in English for us to read and slowly we all bonded through the story. The girls became so excited with the gifts we brought them. At night, a game of musical chairs and later dancing made us all at ease. It felt that we are also at home.

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Next couple days were packed with activities. On the second day, we started setting up the computer lab. Noura and Asmaa brought seven laptops as donation from Casablanca office. We taught the older girls how to find videos in Arabic and French and to learn Math through Khan Academy. Betty engaged with younger girls through ABC learning videos. After dinner, Aruna led a session of arts and crafts.

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Day three, the girls had an early dismissal at school. This also was the only day in Oujda where we got break from rain for a couple hours. We made the most out of this opportunity and played games in the courtyard and blew bubbles. Afterwards, it was cookie decoration time where the girls loved putting sprinkles and M&Ms on the cookies and, of course, in their mouths. We made the Salesforce logo and every girl got a chance to decorate with art.

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Goodbyes are always the hardest but Noura shared many beautiful life lessons, one of which, advising the girls to be generous about everything in life except for shedding tears. We came back with our gratitude buckets overflowing.

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What we got in return was far more than what we were able to give. The staff is the most caring and generous. The delicious tajins Sister Mahdiya cooked for us, the endless cups of moroccan tea that Sister Amina takes pride in making, Kehk and Ghareeba cookies, Amou’ picking up from the airport at midnight, Sister Fatima taking us shopping, Mariem for her smiles and kindness, uncountable priceless moments that I’m forever grateful for. May the light that emits from this home never dim."

~Ansa Obaid

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Thank you Salesforce! We thank you for the love and time you shared with our girls. May this lead to beautiful openings within your lives and those of our girls.