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The Story Behind Seen, Heard and Free

by Miral

12 years ago, I came to the United States to rotate at Parkland Hospital as a last year medical student. During my time at the Paediatric surgery department, I decided that I wanted to be a Paediatrician.

During one of my night shifts I heard a baby crying inconsolably. I went to see for myself what was wrong and discovered a baby bandaged like a mummy from head to toe, crying alone in a crib. I inquired at the nursing station and was told that the baby had been thrown down a stairwell.

I went back into the room and picked up the child. I walked back and forth with him trying my best to provide comfort in my own way… But there is no happy ending to this story.

At the time I found some comfort in thinking that this sort of scenario must be very rare, but soon discovered that child abuse and neglect are more prevalent in today’s society than I’d ever imagined.

This experience has never left me. It simmered for more than a decade until last year I knew what I could do to make some reparation for the terrible injustice this child suffered. Keeping that memory front and centre, I came up with the concept of Kheloney and developed the Seen, Heard and Free project.

Project Seen, Heard and Free is an outreach initiative by Kheloney to support children who we as a society are failing. Children who are disabled, medically ill, terminally ill, orphans, trapped in the juvenile detention centres, in foster care, addicted to drugs, victims of mental health disorders, victims of physical abuse, victims of emotional abuse, victims of sexual abuse, victims of gang violence and the list goes on…

I am determined to reach every vulnerable child I can and give them the following essential things:

  • a place to reconnect with themselves and other children through the freedom of play
  • a place where they can regain their sense of worth and start healing from their trauma
  • a place where they can express themselves and find value within themselves
  • a place that can raise their awareness of the world and their literacy at once
  • a place that welcomes them and caters to all their senses

The Seen, Heard and Free project provides a way for individuals, community groups and local businesses to contribute something small and simple that could make a huge impact to those in need. Together, we can collectively build back what they feel is lost forever.

Through the simple act of gifting a playdate, or series of playdates, you could provide an infinite amount of hope to a child who feels hopeless. Please join hands with me and help us bridge this gap by gifting here.

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