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With the U.S. Thanksgiving weekend drawing to a close, and another major holiday season beginning, The WFB wants to take a moment to recognize the good that is done by charitable organizations, especially at this time of year. It's been nearly 4 months since Misha's GISHWHES challenge inspired people around the globe to raise money for Random Acts. Every single participant bettered the world in some small way. The winning team completed the most tasks. One task in particular was singled out by Misha as having an immediate impact on war-weary people.   
First, Gishwhes 2016 Winners: Team Raised from Perditionwere interviewed by The Geekiary.
 
It’s become a tradition here at The Geekiary to chat with the winning Gishwhes teams each year.  In 2014 we chatted with a member of Team Impala and last year I got to talk with various members of Widdermacker.  My team, Team Subtext, came in a runners up for the fifth time this year, making us the longest running runner up Gishwhes team in the game.  Will I someday be interviewing my own team mates?  Maybe.  But this year I’m honored to be able to talk to Raised from Perdition and find out about their incredibly exciting experience with Gishwhes 2016.
Gishwhes
 
Geekiary asked Team Raised From Perdition about their win:
 
  • Are you all veteran Gishers or are there any first timers on the team?
  • Were you confident that this was your year to win or was this a bit of a nail-biter
  • What item was the most difficult for your team to accomplish for Gishwhes 2016?
  • What was your most memorable Gishwhes item as an individual?
  • Any advice for people considering playing Gishwhes for the first time, or considering playing competitively in the future?
  • Even though you can’t win next year, will Team Raised from Perdition play on again in 2017?
 
Congratulations Team Raised From Perdition!
 
Misha then posted the results of one challenge on his Facebook Page: The "Change a Life" task.
 
The original task was special. It was an attempt to help four families in war torn Syria.

THE STORY:

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), 4.8 million people have fled Syria since the civil war began in 2011. Over 6 million others are internally displaced within Syria in numerous official and unofficial camps. Many of these families live in unsanitary, unsafe, inhumane conditions; where they survive on meager rations and have access to almost no health care. The stories of what is happening right now are tragic: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/06/27/syrias-war-on-doctors

 

In situations like these, it’s hard to know how one can help, but Gishwhes and Random Acts— in partnership with our close friend, humanitarian photographer Giles Duley  http://gilesduley.com/bio/ who has spent years helping families in refugee areas—  have decided that while we may not be able to solve Syria’s problems, making some small impact is better than standing idly by doing nothing. Therefore, we have narrowed the scope and we are going to radically change the material situation of FOUR sweet families that have suffered tremendously from this conflict.

 

First, we invite you to join us in changing the life of Khouloud, her husband and 4 children (highlighted in video):

Khouloud was shot by a sniper and paralyzed from the neck down in 2012 while she was tending to her garden: “I had tried to plant a small area of land near our house, as it wasn’t possible to get vegetables like before. I was going to take care of the plants with my four children and suddenly a bullet hit my neck and I fell down and lost sensation. I could not move anymore. The children started shouting and yelling.”

Her family fled the country and managed to get her out of Syria. They found themselves living in a tented settlement in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, one of thousands of such unofficial camps dotted across the country.

UNHCR provides minimal food coupons, but the family is struggling and there is almost no health care available for Khouloud. Khouloud’s husband has to provide her with 24-hour care as well as tending to their four young children. For two years, Khouloud has not moved from her bed, staring at the ceiling of the small shack that they live in. Even in these deplorable conditions and circumstances, they continue to create some semblance of “home.” War Correspondent Giles Duley, who first shared their story with us and continues to visit them bringing them support and global attention, communicated that: “Khouloud remains eternally positive and smiles, and her husband, Jamal, still looks at her with the love he did when they first met. The children do their homework on the bed with their mother and they always eat together.”

It’s hard to think of a home more filled with love and compassion, despite incredibly difficult circumstances.  Khouloud's simple wish?

“To be a mother again,” she said. “I wish I could move my fingers because sometimes my son is injured outside and he comes in next to me. He moves my hand and he puts my fingers onto the wound. I wish I could move my fingers to touch the wound and make him feel like I am feeling it with him.”

 

Second, we invite you to join us in supporting Khawla Yassine and her family. Their story is equally heartbreaking:

Khawla, 12-years old, lives in Lebanon in a camp with her mother, Sana, and her sister and 5 brothers (two of them have serious disabilities). Their father is missing and presumed dead in Syria.

Her mother and 15-year old sister used to work in a salt factory, but they were let go as the factory didn’t have enough work for them. To add insult to injury, while frying food in their tent, they accidentally burned the tent down, losing everything— even their clothes. They found  a bare-bones tent structure to move into temporarily but had dwindling resources for food, water, and health care.

At this point, 12-year old Khawla made the choice to consume poison. She later explained her reason to attempt suicide to her mother: ‘Mama, there are seven of us and you work and work to feed us, but you can’t keep up. Without me, there will be one less person to feed.’  She spent 13 days in intensive care.

She is out of the hospital, but the family is in dire need of support. Khawla also has two disabled brothers; 6-year old Mohamad, who has an intestinal disease, and Ahmad, an 8-year old suffering from a blood disease that inhibits his ability to speak.

 

Third, we invite you to join us in supporting Reem and her family:

Reem Diab was asleep in her home in Syria when a rocket hit the house. The explosion killed her husband in the bed next to her, one of her children died in the room next door and Reem lost a leg.

She’s now living in a tent on the rooftop of an unfinished building in Bekka Valley with her father and her remaining daughter, Sarah. Sarah does not go to school and Reem is unable to provide for her.

 

Lastly, we invite you to support 7-year old Aya and her family (highlighted in video):

Aya Sokheyta has spina bifida, a disability where she cannot move her legs.

Her family had a successful business in Syria when their home was bombed. For 10 days they hid in the basement with no food, running water or a toilet. When they felt it was safe, they snuck out of Syria, making the perilous journey to Lebanon. Aya’s 10 year old sister, Iman, carried Aya the entire way on her back.

They lived in a tent for 2 years in Syria until they were able to get relocated to a modest flat in France. Although relocated to relative safety, Aya still must get around on Iman’s back or by dragging herself along the ground with her arms. We want to get her a wheelchair and additional medical care and help out her family a bit as they settle into France.

 
 
We are now seeing the results of this campaign
 
 
 
 
 
Thank you Misha and GISHWHES for making such an impact on people's lives!
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