In 2013 Nagi was honored with the Order of the British Empire in
How did you start your life?
I started my life in
What changed the course of your life?
Chance played a major role in changing my life. I spent a lot of time with a friend of mine, whom I never expected to lose, but who was stricken with cancer that eventually took her life. I felt I had lost a big part of my life. It was a very real shock that caused me to put my commercial life on halt and stay home for a long time. I could not imagine my life continuing without her.
How did you manage to overcome this experience?
The death of my friend left a great gap, but it also made me think about how to change my life. I got involved in anti-cancer activities in hospitals in
What did you do after your return to
When I arrived in
How did that happen?
During my visit with the Red Crescent to the [state-run] anti-begging center in Sana'a, I was surprised to see a nearly six-year-old girl in the center with her father. I got closer to that little girl, who was smiling despite her suffering. I started talking with her. I asked her if she loves school and why she does not study. The girl answered, "I love school and I want to study, but I have no money." I talked with her father, raising the same questions. He explained his miserable financial situation, saying he does not earn a sufficient daily income and it is obligatory that he goes to the street with his children. Sometimes they work and other times they beg.
Was this story a source of inspiration?
Yes, I kept remembering that girl all the time. And I began to establish the
When did you actually set up this organization?
The organization was set up in April of 2003. At the time, the organization began receiving poor children who lived below the poverty line. We opened a file for every child and contacted schools to help us identify children that need financial support to obtain their school items. We also launched some activities that aim to prepare children for schooling; children acquire some particular behaviors while living on the streets.
Some families depend on children to eke out a living. How do you deal with this situation?
This was a problem we faced from the start. The targeted families were all poor, and we could not offer food items for all of them. Therefore, we set up a sewing and embroidery factory and trained mothers to work there. We also trained them to market their own products and gave them loans to operate their own profitable businesses.
In addition, we do not prevent children from working after school. Those who study in the morning can work in the afternoon and vice versa.
Does your organization offer children any formal education?
They attend a few hours per week and we assist them in revising their lessons, in addition to providing classes related to computer skills, English language skills, and other skills that help them be successful in their studies.
Have these activities qualified you to receive the Order of the British Empire?
For sure. This order is a tribute to my charitable activities, including this organization.
What does it mean to you?
I was honored in
Were you met with attention from the Yemeni government?
I received no response from the government until two weeks ago.
You could live in
I could live in
Do you receive support from the government?
No, I do not get any support from the government. The only support we get comes from philanthropists.
We currently target 550 children as well as 331 families in
Would you like to say the final word?
Personally, I do not want anything except health.
I also ask God to enable me to serve my country and bring smiles to children's faces.
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