Welcome to my Second Acts Series!
Today, we have Dr. Hina Fatima sharing her story of a fulfilling life of service.
As a young girl growing up in a metropolitan city of Pakistan, my parents always inculcated into me that I have to become a doctor when I grow up. Ah! A doctor! A very honorable profession that is not only internally satisfying but provides selfless service to the people. A rigorous course of education of seven years followed by an equally tenacious house job of one year, the sleepless nights at the civil hospital general wards and the consistent emergency calls at the OR…life as a medical student was a test of perseverance and determination.
When I graduated as an MD, the triumph my parents felt, could be seen on their faces. As I ventured into the clinical field, I realized this was it! My life serving people, be it day or night, sunshine or rain, in sickness and in health!
And then, I got married! 🙂
Not necessarily a bad thing but marriage brought with it change, responsibility and inclusion of other people's say in my life. As tradition is, my marriage was an arranged one, to a complete stranger, a US citizen. And I landed in this foreign country of United States with dreams bigger than I had ever dreamt. Marriage is a life long commitment and requires time. Time, that I had to sacrifice in order for my marriage to survive. My loving husband, a full time architect in US Navy, and I, decided we wanted to live our lives to the fullest, without the daily qualms and quarrels.
My husband, my children, my house needed my time. Yes, as a doctor I can make thousands of dollars, but I can't spend the quality time I want to spend with my family, raising kids the way I want and teaching them values that I was taught. But that didn’t mean I had to quit doing what I love to do most.
I met this wonderful lady, Dr. Marie Banuelos who introduced me to Kiwanis. Kiwanis is an international organization of volunteers dedicated to serving humanity, changing lives, one person at a time. She had created Cyber Kiwanis, an e-club, with the vision that anyone and everyone who wanted to be a part of a service organization, but didn't have time to attend the meetings, could at least be part of an online club and communicate electronically. All they have to do is commit a certain number of hours of community service, in their own communities, wherever they are located and be a part of a group who share similar interests.
Yes, the interests are similar, but the cause may be different. For example, a person wants to help the homeless in his community, the other wants to mentor school children in his neighborhood, and the third finds satisfaction in helping people with special needs. So, we all chip in to support each other in our separate causes and yet be a part of a community who has a passion to serve.
I found this club to be very interesting and convenient. With members ranging from age 18 to age 60, and distributed amongst many States, I can volunteer as many number of hours as I can and get credit for it as a Kiwanian! What else would I want more. I started blogging for the club to to speak out, to educate and to motivate people to come out and serve humanity, in whatever small way they can, without expecting anything in return. We live in a monetary world wanting more and more at every step in life. We don't realize there are people in the world who don't even get to eat one full meal. We want to save more and more not realizing there are people who are just trying to survive.
I am not a rich philanthropist. Just a regular house-wife with two kids living on a single income of my husband, who doesn't make a lot. But we are content, still trying to give rather than save, because we are better off than many. My children have the opportunity to get the best education, compared to so many who never even see the face of a school. I believe, we should all be thankful to God for whatever we have and spread love and happiness around us and give as much as we can to those who are less privileged.
The club's community service projects include fighting childhood obesity, Diabetes awareness, supporting Special Olympics, Children's Hospital, Relay for Life, Kiwanis Family House in Sacramento and providing scholarships to three high school key club graduates. Other than that, on individual levels, volunteer members do what ever community service they can do in their own communities. We have members reading to children, mentoring senior citizens, heading concession stands at different rallies and parades, fund raising for the club itself and other organizations. My personal interest is in the United Cerebral Palsy of Central California and Zindagi Trust, which is an international organization based in my home country Pakistan. It is educating poor children free of cost. I advocate for Zindagi Trust and blog for Cyber Kiwanis at the same time. With a three and one year old, who keep my hands full, this is the maximum I can do at the moment, hoping to be able to do more with time.
To find out how you can help people around you by your words, small acts of kindness, spending some time with them, donating some of your household items, clothes, jewelry etc…
Visit our website http://www.cyberkiwanis.bravehost.com
Subscribe to our blog http://www.cvckiwanis.bravejournal.com
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
LIKE our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/cyberkiwanis
Donate at http://www.cvkfoundation.com/news
Sponsor Zindagi Trust students at http://www.zindagitrust.org/donate.php
Fatima, thank you for inspiring and motivating us with your extraordinary journey. You have given us many ideas on how to serve in our communities.