Bahia Dergham Memorial Fund for Education
“Never be afraid of your dreams…” Bahia Dergham
Bahia Dergham was born in Bakifa, Lebanon on March 21, 1932. Her life’s work and passion was her family. By the time she was thirty-two, she was married and the proud mother of six children. Deprived of an education in her youth, Bahia yearned knowledge as an adult. She became obsessed with securing her children’s education, a mission she was proud of accomplishing.
Though never formally learning her native tongue of Arabic, after arriving in the United States in 1975, she took classes on how to read and write in English. At forty-three years of age, this was a major challenge for her because she had never held a pen in her life. Bahia excelled and flourished with this knowledge, providing her with a new found self-confidence, one that she lacked as a child.
After mastering a new culture and language, she became a voracious reader and an even larger proponent for the education of children. She was passionate about instilling in her own children the importance of educating their children.
Known as ‘Lady Bahia’ or ‘The Jewel’, friends, neighbors and children would look to Bahia for guidance. She welcomed all walks of life into her home and to her dinner table. Bahia was an excellent listener, always ready and willing to help anyone in need. With a keen intuitive intelligence, she subtly inserted lessons from her own life into conversations with those that sought her advice. These seeds would linger and mature at just the right moment, as she always intended them to. Her kind heart and her passion for making everyone feel loved made her a mother like no other–a mother to all. Beyond education, her life passion was always her children and grandchildren. She was only truly happy when surrounded by her family.
Bahia passed away on November 7, 2008 yet her spirit and energy continue to live on through her sister, brother, two sons, four daughters, eleven beautiful grandchildren, a great grandchild.
In 2013, Bahia’s daughter Ghada Dergham established The Bahia Dergham Memorial Fund for Education in partnership with GoPhilanthropic Foundation in order to provide children around the world with the opportunity that Bahia herself had to fight for. No matter the language, country or culture, Bahia loved all children and believed all should be offered access to knowledge. As Bahia always said – “Never be afraid of your dreams. Dreaming is what gives you the strength to continue on your inevitable journey. You are meant to do grand things, never let anyone tell you otherwise.”
Through GoPhilanthropic, The Bahia Dergham Memorial Fund for Education has been supporting the livelihood and education of 40 children residing at TARA Homes for Children in New Delhi. TARA is a residential service with an emphasis on education for street children and abandoned children. TARA ensures quality education, security, complete health care and a real opportunity to carve a bright future. The program’s ethos revolves around the belief that if children are raised in a family-like, tight-knit environment emotional support coupled with a high level of intellectual stimulation, children from vulnerable situations can begin to heal, learn and realize their true potential. TARA children are currently receiving an education in various reputed schools in South Delhi.