The Happy Hearts Story
INTRODUCTION TO SOMALIA - 2011
In 2011, the founder of Happy Hearts came to Mogadishu after hearing of the devastating affects of the famine that struck the horn of Africa. Somalia is referred to as “the world’s most comprehensively failed state” and known worldwide as the most unstable and dangerous country on earth.
While visiting some of the camps for those displaced by famine and war, the only toy we saw was a wooden AK-47 in the hands of a little girl.
We hesitated in getting out the bubbles we brought with us for the children to play with. To blow bubbles in this place of suffering and hopelessness seemed somehow irreverent. However, as we started blowing bubbles something magical happened ... for the first time we began to see smiles across the faces of these children as they found the energy to learn how to blow bubbles.
On this same visit, a doctor informed us about the vast numbers of children that were being admitted, mainly for bullet and shrapnel wounds as well as starvation. Many died even though they had received the necessary treatment to survive. The doctor clarified, “having experienced so much bleakness in their lives, they have no hope left to live, so they die.”
It dawned on us that hopelessness literally has the power to kill, as much as a physical disease. In that moment we determined to create safe places such as children's homes and playgrounds as beacons of hope and peace.
HAPPY HEARTS CHILDREN'S HOME BEGINS - 2013
Many emergency aid trips were made between the initial visit and 2013 to bring emergency relief such as medical equipment, blankets, tarp coverings, food and toys. In early 2013 we distributed over one million meals of food for the malnourished in IDP camps, hospitals and orphanages.
During this time, Happy Hearts opened our first Children's Home & Learning Center for war-orphaned children, and the work officially began.
PRESENT DAY HAPPY HEARTS
There are currently over twenty boys in full time care, living in a family environment, with food and education provided. Since then we have been directing our resources towards development, including education and trauma healing for youth with plans to soon build the first known public playground and community centre in the south-central Somalia.
Happy Hearts dreams of creating many safe spaces in conflict zones where families from surrounding communities can gather to connect, create, heal, learn and most importantly, PLAY!