“You can’t treat all the kids, even if you want to. At least, you will be able to treat some of them.” Said Ghada Mounib, the woman behind creating Save Me group which gathers more than 350 thousand members that helped collect more than 80 million pounds to treat children.
Ghada Mounib started the Save Me campaign with Rasheed, a young boy who suffered from Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and needed immediate intervention with a medication that cost around 35 million Egyptian pounds. That’s when Ghada Mounib decided to start the campaign under the name “Save Rasheed” and started spreading the word to collect donations under the care of the ministry of solidarity. With the help of everyone involved, the campaign was able to collect the money in 18 days, and ever since then, Save Me has been helping more and more people.
Ghada Mounib’s story is a story of empathy, care, and love. It is a story of people getting together and helping out. We sat down with Ghada Mounib to know more.
Where did the idea of Save Me Group start?
It all started when I saw Rasheed’s mom’s post on a group on Facebook. All I could think about was what she was going to do. When my daughter was one year and 2 months old, she got a virus. I went to every doctor possible until I figured out what she had. I remember how anxious I was, as well as my husband and my friends. So, I put myself in her shoes, I believe that each one of us put ourselves in Rasheed’s Mom’s shoes. I wanted to help her out. If we’re 140,000 people, and every one of us donated with 250 Egp, we can collect the 35 million.
What I wanted to do is to put this simple idea into action. The idea can be simple, but there has to be an action taken.
So, I called a friend of mine who’s a director at HSBC Bank. I asked him if we can start an account for her and start collecting donations. He said that I should reach out to the ministry of solidarity to make it official because you can’t collect donations on a personal account. I had a friend who knew Dr. Nevin Al-kabaj. I told her I wanted to help Rasheed, and she was very helpful. She called dr. Nevin and she accepted the idea and told us to tell Rasheed’s mom to come to the ministry to take it out from there. You don’t understand how much I love Dr. Nevin, she was very nice to accept the idea right away and let me try to help. That was when I made the group “Save Rasheed”.
After that, I talked to Rasheed’s mom. She took some time to think the idea through with Rasheed’s dad then she called me in the morning and it all started from there. She went to the ministry and everyone there let her know they were there to help. That was all on Tuesday, and on Thursday night, Rasheed’s accounts were activated at 12 am. Within 18 days, we were able to collect the 35 million and a half.
What was your biggest fear when you started the group?
My biggest fear was not being able to collect the money. The treatment existed and the only problem was the money. No one would be able to handle that fact if they were going through the same thing. Especially that by the law, the money can’t go to the case if it’s not the full amount. If we couldn’t collect the intended sum of money, the ministry of solidarity has the right to the amount collected. The time frame was also important because we needed to get Rasheed the injection before he turned 2 years old. We started in June and his birthday was in November. Fortunately, we were able to collect the money in 18 days.
What kept you going?
Many other cases came up while we were preparing things for Rasheed. Rasheed’s case raised awareness for this kind of disease. I’m one of the people who didn’t know that there was a treatment for 2 million dollars. That’s a big number for anyone in the world. People started tagging me in Asser’s story and Layal’s and other parents started to reach out. That’s what kept me going, especially after we were able to help Rasheed.
What are the cases you’re collecting donations for right now?
Now we have two cases. The first one is Karma, she has brain atrophy. We have collected around 5 million and we have 600 thousand Egyptian pounds left. We also just put out Malek’s case a few weeks ago, he’s 4 years old and gets a blood transfusion every 3 weeks. He needs a marrow transplant surgery. It will be done in Turkey and we will need 1.8 million Egyptian pounds to make it happen.
There’s also Mostafa, there’s another page named “Save Mostafa”. He will need an intestinal transplant surgery which will cost around 36 million Egyptian pounds. What makes me happy is that Dr. Karim Abou ElMagd will be the one to perform the surgery. He is an Egyptian Doctor and they call him the Egyptian Magician because he’s so great at what he does.
How does Save Me take the case?
The cases have to have an official account under the ministry of solidarity. Layal had an account after Rasheed and we collected the 35 million as well. We collected 70 million in 40 days. Then the president started the SMA initiative to urge for early detection and help out the families. So, anyone who suffered from a similar case started going to the ministry to start similar accounts. They also need to be on the Save Me group so people can donate.
What were the challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?
The challenge is always the money because even if you collect 20 million, you still have 15 left.
Every time, there’s a big number left, but you still do it.
What are the ways people can help other than donations?
Sharing with friends. It helps so much because you’re letting more people know and it spirals, and donations come in quicker.
What are your future long-term goals for Save Me?
I’m working on starting my own NGO. It will be called “Forset Hayah” or “A Chance at Life”. The NGO will give us the option to use the money if the donations go over the required limit and wave it to another kid. The other thing is that I want to work on rare diseases, the ones with very expensive treatments. I have to have an NGO legalized by the ministry of solidarity to help more people out and do something like that. Hopefully, it grows. I always say “Something is better than nothing.”
You can’t treat all the kids, even if you want to. At least, you will be able to treat some of them.
Is there anything you’d like to add?
I want to thank all the people that supported the idea from the very beginning and all the people that donated. I believe that is this is an achievement we were all a part of.
People have so much good inside of them.
I want to thank the ones who donated, not just with money, anyone who shared or added people, they were all a part of this.
Ghada Mounib wanted to help and so did thousands of other people. We grow together and this story is perfect proof of that.
You can donate to the cases mentioned above through Fawry or through each case’s bank account, check Save Me for more information!