TJDG's first beneficiary is Laila. This is her story:
Laila was born in Beirut, Lebanon in 1964 and grew up in the midst of violence during a civil war.
“I still remember one afternoon, as an eleven-year old child, I was retrieving water from a well. I was carefully carrying the bucket of water home when a sniper began to shoot at me. I hid behind a pole, holding the bucket in an attempt to protect myself. In a blur, a bullet whizzed by and a flood of liquid drenched my small body. For a second, I was sure it was my own blood. But, it was only water, flowing free as the bullet went straight through the bucket, splitting it perfectly in half. From behind the pole, I looked over at my family members, who were anxiously watching. My mother had fainted.”
This incident acted as the catalyst for the next chapter in her life, as her parents emigrated to California, far away from the dangers of living in a warzone. Growing up in California, Laila was safe but endured bullying from her new peers due to her dark complexion and strong accent.
At twenty years old, Laila’s mother passed unexpectedly. A year later, while she was still struggling to overcome the trauma of her mother’s death, her father was fatally hit by a car.
After losing her parents, she felt a pull to return to her roots and decided to visit Lebanon. While in Lebanon, she fell in love and got married. Laila and her husband had a beautiful baby boy, Sharif, and soon she was expecting a baby girl. However, during this second pregnancy, a war started in southern Lebanon and they had to evacuate their home while she was eight months pregnant (with a one-year-old child in tow). The day they were evacuating, her contractions started and she gave birth to baby Lama.
Shortly after the birth of her daughter, they moved to Houston, Texas. Unfortunately, in Texas, her marriage broke down. Her third son, Karim, was born during this time: a ray of hope during some very tough times.
Laila and her three kids: Sharif, her soul;
Lama, her eyes; and Karim, her heart.
When the children were small, her husband passed away and she was left with immense debt and no means of providing for her children. She took a job working for a country club and stayed there for several years until Hurricane Harvey hit and demolished the country club, taking with it her only source of income.
Finally, she decided to move her children to California to be close to the family she had left there. However, the worst was yet to come. During a trip to Lebanon in 2018, she got a call that changed her life forever: her youngest son, Karim, had passed away in his sleep. He had just turned eighteen.
Laila has always been a survivor. However, the pain of losing her son eclipses anything else she has gone through and, for the first time, she admits she needs help to stand on her feet.
The Junk & Disorderly Girls want to help her survive this difficult time and provide financial help for this heartbroken family.
Laila's son, Karim