A Saudi philanthropist has been providing for orphans all over the world since he was 17 years old, the Arabic daily Al-Hayat reported.
Ali al-Ghamdi travels to various countries to make sure that orphans there have their basic needs met and sufficient funds to complete their education.
Dr. Abdul Shakour, a Ugandan, was an orphan who grew up in Ghamdi’s care. He studied medicine in his home country with the ambition to give back to his own community.
Ghamdi said he went to visit some African countries when he was young and was stricken by the amount of poverty there.
“They did not only lack life’s basic necessities but also the education to elevate their lives. The images I saw at that time stuck deep in my mind and I couldn’t shake them off. I first went to the Philippines to help the orphans there before I went to Africa. I was inspired by Kuwaiti philanthropist Abdulrahman Al-Samit,” said Ghamdi.
He added that he built classrooms for children under school-going age.
“We helped prepare them for school and we gave the support they needed so they would feel equal to their peers in schools. I also worked in Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan, Kenya, the Comoros, Chad, Niger, Uganda and other countries,” Ghamdi said.
He said he currently provides for 7,000 orphans and 2,000 families in 21 orphanages.
“I tried reaching out to national and official directories and entities to support me but no one responded so I had to continue my work without any help. I would take out bank loans and live within a tight budget to be able to pay the money back. Once I pay back a loan, I take another and so on,” Ghamdi added.
He added that whenever his spirit was broken, his wife would be by his side to support him. The couple didn’t have a child for 13 years but Ghamdi said he is now blessed with four children, a boy and three girls.