Sunday, March 25, 2012

Creating Good Out of Tragedy

What do you do with your child's possessions when he/she suddenly dies? No parent likes to think of this possibility, but it happens and usually with no warning.

Eleven year old Nima Gibba left home for school in January of 2009 and never returned. She was a victim in a deadly car accident when a drunk driver ran a red light. Nima's step-mother found going into Nima's room therapeutic--a reminder of the girl she helped raise and the joy she brought. The father found the room to be a source of grief--a constant and painful reminder of Nima's untimely death.

Nima, a sixth-grader, was a positive, generous soul and committed to helping others. The family had planned a trip to the father's home country, Gambia, which the couple now decided to visit as a way of resolving their different ways of coping and brought Nima's toys, clothes, books and other personal effects to give to children in need in that poor country. It became a powerful coping mechanism for them. Three years later, the couple started Nima's Wish Foundation. This new agency seels to aid the Gambian people in many ways, from education and health to improved agriculture and transportation systems. For Nima's parents, it provided an outlet to do something that others cannot--create good out of tragedy.

One of the projects will alleviate some of the work of gathering drinking water by providing solar-run water pumps and storage tanks. Another will provide Gambian women in rural areas, who often walk at least 12 miles a day to gather wood for cooking, with more efficient wood-oburning stoves. They hope this spring to host a large benefit concert for the new foundation.

Nima's parents realize she had a lot of potential to bring people together by doing positive things. They, too, hope to do the same through their foundation.

I know this feeling for when I started a foundation in my daughter's name to help students in college afford to continue their education when all looked hopeless, it was a great feeling. So far two extremely intelligent women who seem like real go-getters have profitted from Marcy's funds. I hope in the future the foundation will help many others. Marcy was able to bring people together; her friends still tell me to this day, almost 18 years later. She had a gift of never wanting others to be the underdogs; she knew what that was like early in life and was determined to overcome any adversity. And she did. It is so sad she never fulfilled her dreams, but I hope to help her accomplish that as Nima's parents hope to help the people of Gambia.

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