We sail through life coping with its ups and downs, enjoying the moments of happiness and bearing with the discomforts. Yet many of us are so engrossed in the everyday routine that we gradually become oblivious to the sorrow and despair of other people. But one inspirational woman found a cause dear to her heart and acted to see it through. She is the Tunisian Boutheina Melki founder of Omnyati; an organization dedicated on granting wishes to ill children.
Please give us a highlight of your career journey.
I started my career as an assistant professor at the Ecole Superieure de Commerce – University of Manouba in Tunis, while working at the same time as a freelance translator.
I then was given the responsibility of managing an institute at the Arab University of Sciences.
As part of my extra-curricular activities, I was Vice President of the Junior Chamber of Commerce (JCI Tunisia), a worldwide organization that empowers youth through leadership training.
What are some of the challenges you faced as a career women and what did you do to overcome them?
Things are not always easy for a career woman, and although Tunisian women enjoy more rights than the majority of their counterparts, the patriarchal mentality still subsists in the work place.
I was exposed very often to skepticism as far as my management capabilities are concerned from the part of my male colleagues. I usually overcome that by ignoring the attacks and by working harder. Yet I have now came to believe that I do not really have to prove anything to those whose only aim is to destabilize you.
Some of the other challenges that all career women face is the load of work which is superior to that of men; as women have to juggle household responsibilities and (real work).
One way of overcoming that is setting one’s priorities right and getting organized.
After the Tunisian revolution, and like many other Tunisians who returned back home from all over the world determined to contribute to the democratic transition, I decided to act in the social field.
Tell us about how Omnyati came about? How it started, its birth-date, obstacles and success’.
The idea of Omnyati has been in my mind for a while, and more precisely after my meeting with Diala El Fill, President of Tamanna Beirut.
After visiting children hospitals in Tunisia and witnessing the hardship ill children were going through, Omnyati seemed to be the right solution. While the luckiest of us have been blessed with a peaceful and joyful life, others have to face fate in its most painful representation when this fate strikes innocent children and threatens to take their lives away.
Omnyati was born in January 2012, it grants the wishes of children with life threatening illnesses because we believe in the healing power of a wish. Wishes give them hope for the future, strength to face the challenges of their illness and joy.
We wanted to be part of that magic and our mission is to turn tears into smiles, as my friend Diala says.
Amanalla’s wish granted by Omnyati meeting his favorite football players
Can you tell us about a story with Omnyati that personally touched your heart?
All the stories in Omnyati are heartbreaking, yet the story that affected me most was that of Tassneem, a five year old child who was suffering from Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare disease in which cancer cells are found in the bone and soft tissue. Tassneem’s only wish was that of being a princess. Omnyati made this wish come true by taking her, along with her mom, to Euro-Disney, Paris, where she met princesses and was herself a princess during three days.
Unfortunately, Tassneem was so ill that she only smiled on a single rare occasion during her adventure.
Tassneem passed away a few weeks later wearing her princess dress. Her mother later told us that not a day went by without her talking about the fairytale she has lived.
I believe that each one of us is given the gift of life, and therefore we have to make the best use of it, by helping those who are in need and by making a difference in their lives.
Tasnmeem living her dream as a princess in Euro Disney
Tasneem back from Paris at
Tunis International airport
Can you tell us about one of the activities that Omnyati takes care of?
One of the many activities of Omnyati also included setting up a classroom in the hospital for those children who have to miss school due to the long medical treatment. They cannot go to school so we bring school to them!
What are some of your future goals and aspirations?
My goal and that of the team is of course to continue to draw smiles on the faces of ill children.
Our next step is to build an accommodation facility for the mothers to accompany their children during the long and painful treatment they have to go through at the hospital. Sadly, enough, several children had to interrupt their much-needed treatment because their parents did not have the financial means to stay close to them. We do hope that by offering them a shelter next to the hospital, we will contribute to alleviate the despair of these families.
In collaboration with Tunis beauty pageant for children Omnyati made this ill girl’s wish
come true by wanting to be the winner and holding the title of prettiest child.
For more information or inquiries visit:
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/omnyati