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El Menahil Promise | 9:21

El Menahil Promise: Doha Alabu’s Story

December 16, 2020



Just before she and her family had left Syria, Doha Alabu had her youngest child. Her husband then suddenly died in a bomb that fell near their home. That was in 2015. Their painful journey brought them to Istanbul, Turkey, where she takes care of all her children and now even her grandchildren.

Doha found work as a teacher at their school, the El Menahil International School in Istanbul, Turkey. “Making a living was really hard at first,” she describes. But joining the staff, where most fellow staff and students have gone through similar experiences from the Syrian Civil War, has been comforting: “it doesn’t feel like you’re entering a school. It feels like you’re coming home to your family.”

What’s more, most adults connected to the school, too, have been eligible to receive vouchers to use at grocery stores to purchase necessities. These have been provided by Tzu Chi Turkey, which sponsors El Menahil, and has meant a lot to families with many young mouths to feed – like Doha’s. Tzu Chi Turkey executive director, Faisal Hu, told us that the amount may not be all that much, “but it means that we stand with you when other people [have] left you.”

Learn all about Doha’s story in our video and how Tzu Chi is working to ensure her and her family’s success on their path forward. Finally, discover how you can support this beautiful initiative at


Director: Hannah Whisenant
Director of Photography: Jonathan Van Lamsweerde
Editor: Hannah Whisenant
Re-Record Mixer: Michael LaFerla
Graphic Designer: Sheauling Soo
Motion Graphic Designer: Chuan Ching Ho
Music: "Hello 6am" by Mylar Melodies; "Secret Conversations" by The 126ers

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