Hisham Kharma is proof that you can wake up one day and decide to make a difference. He already had enough on his plate as a Creative Director and Musician. Yet, he went on to start Law 3andak Dam. The initiative utilizes social media and the internet in general to create a platform that connects blood donors with those who need blood. Earlier this May, Boehringer Ingelheim and Ashoka Arab World’s Making More Health announced Hisham Kharma a Making More Health Fellow. The fellowship will provide experience in professional project management, and support to sustain the initiative and serve more patients. It also is a great way to show the appreciation which Hisham and his team deserve. We sat down with him and talked about his experience.
How did all this come by?
Four years ago, my aunt’s husband went into the hospital and he needed blood. There was a lot of corruption involved. They didn’t care that someone was dying and only cared about making money. The idea started forming then. Then in 2011 when all the events started taking place I knew that blood was something we all needed and that was the trigger.
Did you consider starting something where people would donate organs and not just blood?
I’ve considered it, but for now we want to focus on blood. We don’t want to distract ourselves from this goal. If this works out, hopefully we can move on to bigger things.
Have you faced any difficulties?
The main difficulty was that none of us were doctors.
Do you think this would have been possible if it weren’t for social media?
Of course not. Social media made a huge difference.
Was there a point where the initiative got you in trouble with the government?
No, until now there’s nothing of the sort. On the contrary, the Blood Bank is a governmental institution and we work together brilliantly.
Initiatives like that sometimes are met by skepticism from conspiracy theorists. Have you ever faced that?
Until this point, no. We’re expecting that in the future we might face this. The thing is we’ve never had sponsors, because I didn’t want it to turn into something commercial. So we’ve always had “collaborations”, like the one we have with Bey2ollak.
Your campaign name and your use of music to promote your cause are unconventional. Were you criticized for this?
Yes. However, I know if I started a “normal” campaign, many people wouldn’t have paid attention to it. This is not to belittle other initiatives, but the point was for the name to grab people’s attention.
How do you plan on reaching out to people who can’t afford to be on the Internet or are just not active on it?
The first phase is for us to reach those connected on the Internet and social. Once we get there we will be able to expand.
Each governorate or village would have a blood bank that would contact us with what they need and we would be a connection between one blood bank and the other, or blood banks and the public. This will happen at a later stage, of course.