I’ve had this thought for some time now, and it gets renewed every couple of months when I get really excited about it. But then, of course, I fall back into “Oh. That’s right, my life is going nowhere, I can’t make future plans” mode. Putting that aside for the moment though, I want to, Insha’Allah, build an orphanage.
Now, before I move on, I have to clarify that in order for this orphanage to be built the way I envision it insha’Allah, I would need to be a millionaire. Which means that it’s currently a very up-in-the-air dream. But I’ve learned that sometimes dreams do come true, so I’m going to hold out hope and know that whatever the future holds will be for the best, regardless of whether this particular dream comes true.
So here goes. An orphanage. One that keeps girls of all ages, from birth through high school. Although now that I think about it I’m not sure that newborns can be placed in orphanages. Can they? It sounds like a stupid question to me so I’m going to ignore it for right now, because where would orphan babies go if not to an orphanage right? And isn’t the classic movie scene one where a newborn in a blanket gets left at the doorstep of an orphanage, usually when it’s raining and thundering and lightning and all that good stuff?
Anyways, to continue, it would be a Muslim orphanage of course, which only means that it would be run solely by Muslims and that they would be taught to pray, fast, read the Quran etc. It would take in non-Muslims as well, but the only difference between how Muslims and non-Muslims would be treated would be that they would not be required to pray, fast, learn to read the Quran, or attend the one class on Islam, unless of course the parents or guardians who left them at the orphanage said that they did not mind either way.
My vision for this school/orphanage is that it would be just that – a school – which turns out the best and the brightest insha’Allah. It would emulate the American school system in Saudi, because only after coming here have I realized how fortunate I, and all my classmates, were to get such an excellent education. So so far I have an excellent school system which teaches everything I learned in school and more, plus the basics of Islam. But I wouldn’t take the Islam aspect too far, only to teach them as much as I was taught, because there would be the very real danger of turning them against Islam if it was forced onto them.
The orphanage would give them all individual gifts every Eid, and take them places on short holidays like Thanksgiving and Spring Break. The best part, however, would be summer vacation, where each kid would get to choose a place they want to go to from a list, and would be taken there by a chaperone for a couple of weeks. The rest of summer vacation would be spent going to places closer by, and nothing would be required of them during this time. There would be an awesome library of course, packed with books chosen by me because I do have the best taste in children’s and young adult books 😛
This is the reason I would have to be a millionaire, because it would require elaborate vacations, fun outings on some weekends, and gifts for each child at least three times a year (the two Eids and on their birthday). I also am thinking about the possibility of not having the living arrangement be girls of the same age in one huge room with multiple beds, because privacy has always been very important to me and I think that that’s the least they should be able to expect. Each child having an individual room might not be practical, not financially because I’m assuming I’m a millionaire, but space wise depending on where it gets built. So maybe two, three, or four to a room? Kind of like sharing an apartment or dorm room with others?
Now, since these are girls, and since I’m not sure where excactly orphan children go once they turn 18 (it’s kind of ridiculous if they get turned out onto the street once they turn 18), I would want to give them the option of staying in a separate place, separate only from the rest of the children under 18 but still in the orphanage, and attend the University of Houston. The orphanage would pay for their tuition, housing, living expenses (now I’m thinking I might need to be a multi, multi, multi millionaire for this haha), and provide them with transportation. Since Houston sucks and does not have public transportation, this would have to be in the form of carpools. If they did not want to remain at the orphanage, they would also have the options of either having a dorm room at UH paid for, or of getting the same amount of money that their tuition and living expenses would amount to for the next four years and attending the college of their choice. I would want this only because to do so otherwise would be almost requiring these children who have no other option to get into debt the second they step out of the orphanage.
My biggest fear in all this, is that it’s very easy to not know what is wrong until after the fact. One bad teacher, one horrible student that nobody tells on, and a child, or multiple children, are scarred and traumatized for life. How would I go about preventing such a situation from EVER happening insha’Allah? Well, first of all, from the time that they are old enough to be able to use a computer, which is really quite ridiculously young nowadays, I would make sure that each and every one of them had my email address memorized. I would insist that they memorize it and that they either send me regular emails updating me on their lives, on what they have learned, etc., or that they email me if anything happens. I will make them promise to tell me if anything happens, and I will also hold individual coffee sessions with all of them once a month or so. Or maybe chocolate milk since these are kids haha.
Also, the hiring process will be meticulous of course, and no one I have even the slightest doubts about will be able to teach or hold any sort of position at the orphanage.
So, that’s my dream. Insha’Allah it will come through. It’s such a beautiful idea, the perfect orphanage where the absolute best care is taken in everything to ensure the happiness and success of the children, that I had to write down my ideas right away.