The children are, of course, the thriving blossoms in the House of Flowers. The House of Flowers has served over 140 children over the years, including the 30 children currently living in the House in 2017.
The House of Flowers began in 2002 with its first children, sisters Razia, Nadia and Shukria. They were gradually joined by the brothers Zaher Shah and Shahin Shah, Ramin, brothers Obaid and Zaki, brothers Ashraf and Hekmat, Gul Muhammad, and siblings Waheed and Maryam. All of these children were between 3 and 8 when they came to the House in 2002 and 2003.
In 2012, we marked the ten year anniversary of the opening of the House of Flowers. During these ten years, the children named above grew into their teens. Some of them became old enough and strong enough to rejoin their families, continuing to study and sometimes working too. Many children literally grew up in the House, such as Razia, Nadia and Shukria, along with Maryam and her brother Waheed, Ramin, Hekmat, and Shahin Shah and others who spent their formative years in the House. Maybe you can recognize them in the picture above.
But the House is never static. New children have been joining the family over the years, and now most of the children at the House have been there for 2 to 5 years. They are now growing up in the warmth of the House of Flowers. To see these children transform, become educated, become graceful and calm as well as taller and stronger, is one of the most gratifying experiences imaginable.
Below are some details and stories about some of the children who have lived at the House over the years:
Fereshte – Sharp-minded, a very quick learner. Confident, a natural leader. Curious. Loves to sing. Close friends with Firouzeh.
Wahida – Came to the House at age 4, chubby and uncoordinated and undeveloped. Now is much taller, and very active. Extremely charismatic and very bright. Is close friends with Sahar and Maryam.
Abdrahman – Came to the House in 2010 at age 4. Tells the story of how Ramin helped him feel better by pushing him on the swings. Loves tae kwon do and is often seen doing push-ups and sit-ups as a workout on his own. Also has a very strong imagination, and makes worlds of his own using blocks, toy animals, and cars. Expresses his own gratitude for being at the House of Flowers and learning how to read.
Basir– He came from a very harsh background, arriving at the House around 2009 at age 12. Is exceedingly gentle and very quiet. Winner of the in-house writing contest this year. Was overwhelmed by this, since he had never won anything before. He has made amazing strides in his schooling, catching up quickly for many years of lost time. As a teenager he began working part-time at Oxus microfinance office, saving his pay. In 2015 he began working at Tikkun Olum International (TOI) as a staff member, and living at a transition house for orphans. run by TOI.