This year, WFCF celebrates 15 years of service to the disabled orphans of the world—the forgotten. With that, we wanted to take a closer look at the organization--where it’s been and where it’s headed—with a Q&A with Executive Director & President, Dr. Mehdi Khosrow-Pour.
Q1. When did you first have the idea to start a non-profit organization?
Mehdi: As a child, I could not understand how any child who requires medical attention could be turned away due to the financial status of their family and the inability to pay for treatment. I used to dream about a place where children from low income families could go and receive the appropriate medical attention and care that they needed at no cost. Therefore, this dream evolved into a lifelong goal of mine to support children in need.
Q2. Why/How did you choose this specific cause?
Mehdi: During my business travels, I ended up spending some time in lower income countries. Some might say this is a coincidence or some may say it was fate, but during one of my visits to the Middle East I had the opportunity to visit an orphanage for handicapped children. There were approximately 90+ children in this specific facility with all kinds of physical and developmental challenges. They were all cramped in small filthy rooms and had very limited hygienic resources. Some of these children had their feet and hands tied to the bed so they could not move! In addition, I was told that a doctor comes to visit these children for roughly only two hours per week! Later, I learned that according to the United Nations, the average life span of these children is only 12 years! It was on that trip that I made it my goal to somehow help these children in any way I could.
Q3. In your opinion, what has WFCF accomplished during the last 15 years?
Mehdi: During the past 15 years, WFCF has managed to provide funding support to many facilities that assist orphaned handicapped children around the world. This has greatly improved their quality of life and living situations. WFCF has managed to work with third parties such as Messiah College, United Methodist Church, and many other charities to identify projects that meet the WFCF funding criteria.
Q4. What are you hoping to see WFCF accomplish during the next 15 years?
Mehdi: It is our hope that during the next 15 years, WFCF can reach so many more children who are desperately in need of help and assistance. The needs of these children are by far much greater than an organization such as WFCF can address, and as such we hope that we might also create a greater awareness in the global community so that other individuals and/or associations will join us in our efforts. We are committed to assisting these children and we will do whatever we can to contribute to this worthy cause.
Q5. As you have visited different countries on behalf of WFCF, what are some of the images or memories that have been imprinted in your mind?
Mehdi: During my trip to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, I visited an orphanage for handicapped children managed by the Mercy and Sharing charity group based out of Colorado (USA). WFCF had funded the purchase of 10 wheelchairs for this orphanage, and I was getting to visit the site to meet the workers and residents. During my visit to the facility, I saw so many of the children in small rooms stacked in triple level beds with hardly any mattresses on these beds. I still remember there being a little girl on one of the top-level beds who was paralyzed from the neck down. She was smiling at me and her smile will be forever ingrained in my memory. Despite her dire condition, she had such a warm and peaceful smile. Whenever I get to the point in my life where I think, things are tough, I think of that beautiful smile and that is when I see everything differently.
Q6. What are your hopes for WFCF in 2018?
Mehdi: My hope is that 2018 will be a tremendous turning point for WFCF and that we will expand our reach to an even greater number of children all over the world. We are also hoping to forge new partnerships with various groups and businesses who can support WFCF’s mission and vision.
Finally, we are also committed to reaching out to individuals – who we deem to be friends and supporters in our surrounding neighborhoods and all over the globe, inspiring them with our mission and vision. We will extend to them the opportunity to provide helping hands to the less fortunate children of the world. If each person took just a few minutes out of their day, or just a few pennies out of their pocket, working collaboratively to do good, just think of what we can accomplish!
We hope to mark our anniversary by making 2018 WFCF’s best year to date. Our plans to do so include more events, fundraisers, projects and communications in hopes of taking our worth cause to the next level. We cannot do it without you. Please help us spread our mission—share our newsletter, follow us on social media, tell your family, friends and coworkers about our efforts, and, of course, donations are always appreciated. Together we can make 2018 a banner year for WFCF and the beautiful children we serve!