When there’s a problem, ‘we just pray’: A Lebanese teenager has started a charity to bring medical care to the poor

She also raised funds for the surgery, as in the case of Andraos.

Khawand raises funds and resources through calls for help on social media. She says the response from individuals around the world has been overwhelming.

Khawand’s mission to help his people began on August 4, 2020, the day of the Beirut explosion.

“After the explosion, I took to the streets. I had no resources to help me. I just went down, cleaned the houses, asked people how we can help them and tried to rescue some citizens who have been seriously injured,” Khawand said.

It was shortly after the explosion that Khawand heard about Andraos’ situation.

After Andraos woke up from her coma, she needed $7,000 to pay for surgery on her skull. It would cost an extra $1,000 for physical therapy after surgery.

“I was confident that we would be able to raise funds,” Khawand told CNA. The money was raised in a week and a half through an Instagram flyer. Now Andraos, fully recovered from her surgery, is one of the volunteers helping Khawand serve. They also became close friends.

Marina Khawand and Helena Andraos became good friends after Khawand helped raise $7,000 for Andraos’ head surgery. Marina Khawand

“Marina is amazing. I don’t know how at 19 she started doing medonations and how she is still doing with her university studies,” Andraos said.

In addition to her friendship with Andraos, Khawand maintains strong relationships among the families she serves on a monthly basis, she said.

“Many families invited us to their homes for coffee, lunch, dinner, and some also came to visit us in our offices,” she said. “We do volunteer work and it’s not a job for us.”

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Andraos, now with a brand new plaque in her head after her surgery, said volunteering with Medonations has been the “best experience of my life” because of the smiles from the people she has helped.

Medonations is run entirely by volunteers. Even Khawand does not receive a salary for her work, which she undertakes alongside her law studies at Sagesse University in Forn El Chebbak, just outside Beirut.

But it’s worth it because she knows it’s what God is calling her to do, she said.

“Seeing all this suffering, over a hundred patients a day, it’s not in your hands, it’s all in God’s hands,” Khawand said. “So whenever we see a problem, we just pray.”

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