«I always wanted to make a difference in others lives»
How did you start with charity work? Since I was a kid I believed in sharing with others, what God has given us; in fact I believed in this so much, that I could never see myself «not doing it»… nobody knows what it is to put a smile on someone’s face, somewhere out there, or make a difference in someone’s life (karma)! I always wanted to make a difference and my path started long before Kunhadi, I was helping way back but I never spoke about it and it won’t start now, that’s why I felt Kunhadi is a cause I can carry without feeling that I am talking about what I do… If I don’t spread road safety, I won’t make a difference, if I don’t talk I won’t make a difference, and Kunhadi is where I find myself, especially that I knew Hadi as classmates. Look at the satire in life! Now I am the ambassador of Kunhadi, this is destiny. I’m carrying his name that is a symbol for road safety with all that I can give and care, and I won’t stop here. I will try to make a difference wherever I can and I will help whenever I can, but as an ambassador, it gives me more responsibility, and I hope I can deliver. Khalil Gibran says: «You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give».
How can you coordinate between your goals and your role as a wife and a mother? I am married to Wissam Abou Ayyash, I loved him since I was 18 and if I start with my story, I’ll need more then the papers of Prestige! Basically I am a dreamer, and when I dream, I dream with a loud voice next to my family, and Wissam is supporting me on my cause because he believes that I can make a difference, and if it wasn’t for him I won’t be here today, on the other hand Nancy is the fruit of my love, she taught me to love unconditional, she is my true smile and my best friend, I share with her my dreams, although she is still young to understand, but she does in her own little way. We did the «Center campaign» together and «save kids lives», I still can’t forget how happy she was drawing her heart as her own message for «savekidslives» campaign. I now know what motherhood means, and I pray that I never feel what other Mums felt by loosing their loved ones, I can’t imagine the pain they are in, and I feel with responsibility to stand by their side however I can, and that’s the reason I took the «victim support Center» project, I hope I can make a difference with this project. Wissam and Nancy are the reason I can continue my journey, and only through their support my success will be achieved.
Are you someone who loves fashion and spend time on it? We all love fashion, if we believe in good causes, this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take care of the way we look; but I took a decision to only wear from Lebanese designers and Stylists, I am a proud Lebanese, and our designers are talented people, doing a great job, here and everywhere; I think we should try to spread this more and more, and one of the Lebanese designers is doing a joint venture with me for Kunhadi… Therefore, Fashion and goodCauses CAN meet! Today I am wearing (George Hobeika) and (les bijoux de salma). I am glad to support amazing Lebanese designers!
Tell us more about the taxi school? Why did you choose it as your project? Kunhadi’s mission since its founding is to introduce a new road safety culture among the Lebanese youth. With the rise of the dangerous practice of driving under the influence of alcohol, Kunhadi did not limit itself to discoursing drunk driving, but also sought to find an alternative to this risky behavior: take a Taxi. With the help of Taxi Night parties where guests are required to take taxis offered by Kunhadi for free to and from the party, Kunhadi succeeded to start the culture of taking a taxi after a night out. Party organizers and wedding planners began including Taxis in their events. Even the Minister of Interior and Municipalities was inspired by Taxi Night on New Year’s Eve (NYE) 2013-2014, and offered free Taxis to anyone who was too drunk to drive. That NYE was the first time no traffic deaths were recorded. But still, Kunhadi received a number of complaints about Taxi Drivers’ behavior. How can we ask people to take a taxi when many taxi drivers aren’t being safe? So Kunhadi decided to train these drivers on safe driving and professional customer service. That’s when the Taxi Academy was born. And hopefully through kunhadi’s taxi academy school our youth will trust more in taxis and they will be able to deliver a safe service for our society, and here I ask the parents to help us hand by hand to spread this education, Kunhadi can’t work alone we need each one of you by our side.
What are your other projects? I have three projects, but I started with this academy school as my first. Next is the Center: victim support Center, last year like this time I went with a campaign saying: «the road will continue after the crash» many people thought I went on this campaign, introducing myself or campaigning my self ignoring the big sentence I put next to me and (#nodeadend) and the HUGE cause I am carrying: «each one of us has his own accident that he couldn’t move on after it, and I found serenity in this Center, and that’s why I campaigned for it». This Center will be the first of its kind! Dedicated to those who couldn’t move on after the crash, I want to help Kunhadi hand in hand to stand by those injured from accidents, and those in pain for their lost ones, to continue their lives because what doesn’t «kill us makes us stronger», and I believe in the will of those that will come to us to stand by them hand in hand through their pain, not only people who were victims of accidents, but families who lost someone and it was hard for them to move on, and here I exactly know how it feels, I lost someone and it was so hard for me to move on, but the peace I find in the smiles of others made me find myself exactly where I belong and this Center will reflect my feelings and I believe in it, hopefully it will be «hope».
«I have two other projects besides the academy school, a victim support center and a garden of remembrance for the ones we lost».
By losing someone meaning one of your own family? Yes I lost my mum
Sorry to hear that, then why not an ambassador for a cancer Organization? You don’t know it, but when you lose your mother, from that moment on, you feel that you are alone, and you try to look at your family and friends, and in their smiles and affection, you seek some solace. There isn’t a day that passes where I don’t think of what I can do to help others who are living the same; it’s beyond pain and the fact of re-living it is so hard. I always tell Lena how proud her kids must be to see such a powerful mum dealing with this every day; and maybe one day I’ll take from her strength to start something, but now I am helping in my own way, in a way I can handle; hopefully one day I will be able to stand up to this pain and face it; but not today.
And your final project will be? The third will be a garden, remembrance garden for our lost ones for those we loved, we will all stand there every year sharing this hard moment, trying to raise our voices for those who are driving with no care, to see the pain others went through as a price of this moment that we lost our lives for, a moment of reckless speeding that wasn’t worth ending our lives and the lives of the ones we love, family, wife, friends and people that care.
«Help us keep our children, the future of tomorrow safe.»
Inas do you have other goals then doing charity? Yes, to make a difference in my own way.
Can you tell me how you’re planning on doing that? There is a quote that says: «work in silence and let the success make the noise» time will tell, our identity exists through our cause, and my cause is huge. Only by fulfilling it I will rest; I won’t say more than this for now. Let time tell!
What will your message be through us today? My message as a Kunhadi ambassador and my aim in this conversation is to spread the education of Kunhadi. This taxi school is going to be the first of its kind in the Middle East. Put your hand in ours, so that we can provide safer roads for our families and loved ones. Don’t drink and drive, let’s start using taxis, and hopefully with this taxi school and the taxi companies involved in it, they will be providing our children with better and safer taxis. Your families and people who love you are waiting for you at home. Don’t end their hopes, their lives, by ending yours. And I urge all mothers not to allow their children to come back home driving after drinking. Please ask them to come back in a taxi! After all Kunhadi is for you, put your hands in ours to help keep our children, the future of tomorrow safe. Conducted by M.N.