Kids in refugee camps have to grow up fast, it’s difficult for them to imagine a future elsewhere. Providing kids in refugee camps with a safe place to learn and play is Nadine's passion and drive with the Amal Project.
Born in Germany and having traveled the world to accomplish her dream of being a war correspondent Nadine didn't know her name would be known worldwide not for covering news all over the globe, but for her distinguished styles and designs that became essential in every woman's wardrobe.
We at Kind Luxury had the great pleasure to sit down with Nadine Arton to discuss her passions and what drives her.
Founder and Creative Director of GlamOnYou and Philanthropist
|Buying caravans in the refugees camps and turn them into a safe environment where children can play and learn.|
QUOTE YOU LIVE YOUR LIFE BY
|Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep the balance you must keep moving forward. (Albert Einstein)|
How did your philanthropic journey start?
I was always passionate about making a difference and had previously pursued a career in foreign aid. I became involved in the fashion industry almost by accident. Despite GlamOnYou’s growing success, I started working on different charitable initiatives. I began collecting old fabrics from tailors around Dubai to pass on to the Al Noor Centre for Special Needs so that the children there could use the materials to make pillowcases and bags. I also supported the local Autism Center and the Woman Lalala.
I always choose charities that help women or children because they’re so often the weakest part of society.
Could you tell us about the Amal Project?
The Amal Project aims to offer distraction and hope to some hugely disadvantaged and traumatized children by providing them with a safe haven away from the shocking hardships of their day-to-day life.
We, at the Amal Project, believe that providing children with as many normal activities as possible, doesn’t only place them in a healthy environment, but also focuses on their mental wellbeing that is almost always forgotten in major conflict zones.
Our mission is to bring hope ('Amal' from the Arabic for 'Hope') to thousands of children in refugee camps.
We build houses or buy caravans and then turn them into spaces filled with toys, books and various games so providing a safe environment where children can play, learn and relax.
The Amal Project supports children’s development as well as helping them to overcome psychological trauma.
What challenges do you face as philanthropist?
First of all, it’s not easy to get access to refugee camps. We experienced both physical and emotional challenges.
These include the security process, keeping up with the standards of UNHCR ('United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees') terms of safety and the biggest test of how to relate to the kids. You have to make them feel loved despite the situation they’re in.
How do you do the fundraising and what are the key factors of its success?
To help with the initial raising of funds, we collaborated with GlamOnYou to produce the Amal dolls and T-shirts sold through retail partners right around the world.
It was an overwhelming success as we received a lot of support from people who share the same vision of helping the distressed. At present, support can be offered by donating through the Global Citizen Foundation.
Volunteers who are prepared and able to commit a significant proportion of their time, energy and resources are the key factors of our success.
What was the most memorable moment of your philanthropic life?
The most rewarding aspect was when we finally opened the doors to the first centre in the AL Azraq Refugee Camp. All of the work and the months spent making this happen was finally right there in front of us and to see the joy on the children’s faces is something I will never forget.
Some of the kids had been queuing and waiting in anticipation for four hours outside; others were busy helping us to set up inside.
When we opened the doors and saw the reaction of the children, this was the whole purpose of why we were there.
How does your typical day look?
Sometimes I wish I would have one!
What advice would you give to a person wanting to get involved into philanthropy?
The best philanthropy happens when your individual beliefs, values and passions are married to core public needs. It is not about what you give, it’s about how you give.
The only thing you need to have to be a successful philanthropist is generosity; net worth has nothing at all to do with it.
Give a modicum of time in the service of other human beings.
If you would like to learn more about the Amal Project and Nadine Arton visit www.nadinearton.com