Hard working student perseveres despite significant life challenges

  • 12 September 2023

Nahla is a bright, hard-working 15-year-old Moroccan, with big dreams. She is passionate about her education and achieved higher scores on the national exams than the hundreds of her peers in her municipality. She plans to graduate, attend university, and study law. And on her way, Nahla is overcoming disadvantages the typical teenage girl doesn’t have to face.

Nahla was born with clubfoot and a joint disorder. Every morning, to leave her home and reach her classroom, she literally crawls up dozens of steps. Even though she’ll do what it takes to stay on track academically and pursue her dreams, this adapted way of getting around has compounded her problems. Years of walking with deformed feet have damaged her knees, making mobility more difficult and painful, and neither her hands nor her feet now operate at full functionality.

Despite these conditions, Nahla is a model student with her sights set on a bright future. “Our first impression of Nahla is something I’ll never forget,” said Brandon Sosa, CEO of the Barzilai Foundation. “When we met with Nahla and her family, she had put on her nicest dress to make the best possible impression. We talked about her condition and her struggles, but she never looked overcome or defeated. When we talked about her as a person and her life plans, she lit up. She couldn’t contain her smile just thinking about her big plans for the future.”

Since Nahla's conditions have been untreated for this long, surgery is unfortunately not a viable path to walking. Braces modeled for her legs will provide her better mobility and the ability to walk up the stairs to leave her home for school each day.

The Barzilai Foundation saw more opportunity to support Nahla. The foundation will not only be funding the leg braces, but also providing Nahla a laptop to assist her studies and an English tutor to better equip Nahla for the university education she is fighting for.

“I promise I will make good marks in school and complete all my studies,” Nahla said through tears of joy when she learned about the support from the foundation. “I want to be able to take care of my mother who has taken care of me. I am extremely grateful for the leg braces, crutches, the laptop and lessons that will make it possible for me to achieve my dream of becoming a lawyer and taking care of my family.”

“People like Nahla are exactly what David and I envisioned when we planned what the Barzilai Foundation could be,” said Sosa. “We open up opportunities for people who are facing barriers that are blocking their way. With Nahla, you have this young woman who is literally crawling over the barriers in front of her to accomplish her goals. We are so proud that we can help her to stand to face the challenges that face her. We’re proud to invest in her future, and we can’t wait to see what great things she accomplishes.”

*For the protection of the family, personal details have been changed.

Hard working student perseveres despite significant life challenges