The picture above may very much resemble a doll house, only if it were smaller, yet it’s actually one side of a sleeping unit at the Health & Hope Oasis: a recreational center for children with cancer and their families. Following the belief that the cure for cancer can’t only be found in hospitals, Ashoka fellow Magda Iskander joined hands with the Association of Friends of Children with Cancer in the creation of the oasis.
The oasis is located on a farm in the beautiful natural setting of Wadi El Natroun, off Cairo- Alex desert road, secluded, away from noise and people; it truly is an oasis, of hope and happiness. Walking around, you can’t help but be inspired by the work done there, all units covered in mural, painted in numbers by the kids of the surrounding area, with the help of artists coaching them in the importance of colors and the various forms of art expression for nature appreciation.
The oasis can host 250 – 300 children and their family members (particularly those from remote places) for periods ranging from 3-12 weeks as needed to complete the treatment, and recovery process. It will also have the potential to provide temporary employment opportunities for parents of children with cancer on the farm and the neighboring farms, as well as training in income generation activities that they can use when back in their own villages. HHO will also connect the needy parents to other NGO’s that can provide loans to the parents.
As a thank you to the neighboring kids, a mural was also carried out at their school, young kids, spent many Friday mornings coloring, painting and learning new forms of art- for a good cause, for other kids their age, with cancer, to have the right to play and become free of restraints, free of hospital walls and most of all, free of the belief that because they’re sick, they’re bound to their beds and their childhood years are over.
After visiting the place, all I can think of is the HHO motto:
“A child with cancer has the right to play, to breathe clean air, and to triumph over despair”
The oasis aims at starting its work by October; volunteers are always welcome, for mural, help in activities & support!
For further information:
Health & Hope Oasis: www.hhoasis.org
Ashoka Fellow Magda Iskander profile: http://www.ashoka-arab.org/egypt/magda-iskander.ht