My journey in Lebanon has been an interesting one, full of surprises and adaptation. But I guess these are two things this country is known for, and manages to mete out with extreme frequency. When I started coming here I had no idea what would be in store for me, and the past couple of years have taken me to a place I never imagined myself going.
If you have been reading my blog (see below), you know that my plans have been challenged and my patience tested over the past year and a half. When I decided I wanted to somehow make a difference in the lives of Syrian children here, I initially thought I would start my own nonprofit. Those plans quickly changed though when I realized what a long and painstaking process this can be, and so I decided I would just partner with an existing organization in order to further my goals. But as I worked in various capacities with several nonprofits here in Lebanon, I kept returning to my initial idea of starting my own organization, and that goal has now become a reality.
I am extremely happy to tell you all that as of December 4, 2014, I am the president of my very own nonprofit named the Sadalsuud Foundation. My organization’s mission will be to address educational and psychosocial needs of Syrian refugees in Lebanon, and it is my personal goal to make a very palpable contribution to the Syrian refugee crises that is now unfolding before us. As an organization with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, I will now be able to apply for funding through larger organizations. Additionally, all contributions you all make will be tax-deductible. The coming months will be a busy time of planning and fundraising, and I look forward to telling you all about the process as it transpires.
In brainstorming with a friend (and now nonprofit board member) about the name of the future organization, we both thought that a name related to the sky would be a very symbolic idea, conveying the image of these refugee children rising above their problems and current situations. While researching this idea, I learned that the Arab contribution to the field of astronomy was significant, and that many stars and astrological terms are still commonly known by their Arabic names (ie: Altair, azimuth). I next stumbled upon the name of a star in the Aquarius constellation called Sadalsuud. Translated from Arabic, Sadalsuud means “luckiest of the lucky,” a luck referring to the star’s rising with the sun when winter has passed. This star is therefore also aligned with the season of spring, and the burgeoning of new life, a powerful symbol for these children. And, as if this symbolism wasn’t enough, I also learned that this star seems to be moving perpendicular to the plane of our galaxy; an odd motion that indicates it was somehow kicked away from its birthplace.
Sadalsuud is a refugee. Sadalsuud is new life.
Sadalsuud is my motto, my mantra and my new nonprofit.