Poverty is increasing in all American Cities. In this video I meet an amazing woman who’s decided to do something about it. Join me as we dive into an organization that gives people the skills they need to survive on their own.
Solution To Poverty In USA
Good morning, guys.
If there’s one theme I’m seeing
through all American cities right now
it is people living on the fringes
but today’s video isn’t
about the problem per se.
It’s more about the solution.
We’re gonna go to an
organization called Zaman.
Which doesn’t just give things out
it trains women, helps children
and puts families back on their feet.
Beautiful operation they have.
I think you’ll like this one.
Let’s do it.
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Zaman, Hope for Humanity Center.
How are you?
-I’m good, how are you?
-Good, thanks for meeting up.
I am born and bred in Dearborn.
I am an original Dearborn
girl on the border of Detroit.
Zaman means time.
So it’s about how we spend our
time in the stewardship of others.
I came into this because as a
nurse I found a baby that was dying
in a laundry basket.
And I couldn’t take it.
The family was a refugee family.
I was working in the hospital at the time.
I discharged the baby to die at home
but when I went to do a home visit
I didn’t expect to find the
baby dying in a laundry basket.
What I learned was even
though the family had nothing
they were extremely resilient
because they built a crib
out of a laundry basket.
-Was that in Dearborn you found this baby?
-Yeah, that was in Dearborn.
I just want to say one
thing to the audience.
Guys, I so often am bringing
up problems in society
and this is one of those
instances where there is
a very clear problem in society.
There is a lot of people on the fringes
of course throughout the whole country
but this is a solution.
So I’m really excited to show
you sort of a positive note here
of the situation.
-There is a solution here.
We’re usually blaming and shaming
them rather than helping them
break that cycle of poverty.
And I think it’s a sin.
It’s that simple.
For me it’s a sin.
So we’re gonna do it.
-This is a massive facility.
-Yeah, it’s a 40,000 square foot building.
Once you stabilize a client and
they’re able to take the next step…
So food, clothing,
shelter, that’s the easy part.
-Because we can provide that.
The harder part is for them
to want to change their lives.
-This is a place where women want
to change their lives.
They want to change the trajectory
of their kids.
They want to change the
trajectory of their family.
and these are single moms
raising their kids in extreme poverty.
So this is industrial sewing.
This is actually workforce
So we’ve gone from a sewing
machine to a beginning program
to math, and cutting, and
everything else, and design elements.
Now this is the workforce.
So our students graduate and this
is where they’re going to go to work
and learn industrial sewing.
Hopefully we’re looking for contracts.
and then once the contracts come
in we’re gonna employ our students
and we’re gonna employ
them at a living wage.
-I’m jumping ahead right now
but since you’re touching on this.
So the jobs need to be
here and what I’m seeing
and I don’t know much about the Midwest
but I’ve been spending
time here this summer.
A lot of empty factories, a lot of
manufacturing has gone overseas.
So essentially some of that
needs to come back, right?
For people to go into the work force.
-At that big cosmo level, yeah.
At this level, it’s a place where
people can get everything they need
in one stop and that was the whole idea.
How do you create one stop hope?
Smells delicious in here.
-These are our brilliant clients,
and students, our chef Kim.
One of our apprentices, Carly.
-And they’re in a culinary
arts class right now.
So they’re gonna take
this culinary arts class
We have them for 12 weeks and
then we have them for one year.
The idea is once they’re completed
they’re gonna be highly employable.
Almost like you go from one open door
to another open door.
-Wow, perfect timing for that.
I just walked through the door.
-And you walk into something
like this and here we are.
This is like a state of
the art commercial kitchen
and we have our chefs, and
we’re taking a product to market.
It’s called Rising Hope Bakery.
This is really, really cool.
We’re on the cusp of
breaking the cycle of poverty.
It’s taken 20 years.
We have our cookie.
-I’m a cookie connoisseur.
-I eat cookies at least
three or four times a week.
-So it’s not official yet.
This is just sort of like an example.
We’re hoping to land a
contract soon or a few contracts
and go to distribution.
We want to go national hopefully.
The idea is that you
take a bite out of poverty.
-It’s quality chocolate you’re using, huh?
-Yeah, quality chocolate.
MAN: Everything is top of the line…
-‘Cause our clients, they are fearless.
So this one is dedicated to
those who live in poverty who are
fearless and want to break their cycle.
They become our heroes
and they are champions.
-Yeah, so this is how we’re
creating this cookie line.
-Can people buy these online or
that’s gonna happen down the road?
-Soon, probably in about
another month or so.
-I’m pretty tough with my cookies.
I’m not gonna do it for
the video and be all nice.
These are solid.
These are very good.
I’m happily impressed.
-You’d take a bite out of poverty?
-Take a bite out of poverty,
I’m adding to my muffin-top
and I’m happy.
Great, and it’s chocolate.
I cried so much on Friday
when we opened this up
because this has been a 20-year journey.
It’s amazing that you can
start from a box of food, right?
And then build an international NGO
and again, it’s the whole idea that one
door after another just keeps opening.
-Oh my God.
-This is brand new?
-It’s bran new.
-It smells new.
So here’s the idea, when we first started
I was finding people
homeless like a mother
sitting at McDonald’s by the
dumpster with her 10 year old kid.
I was getting a coke, I’m like,
“Oh, my God. This can’t be.”
So I started talking to her.
Got her food, right?
Then there’s a person who’s
homeless who is in their car.
Fine, you give them a box of food.
Then there’s a person who
has a hotel with a microwave.
You need a different box of food.
And so we started to learn that
people have different food needs.
It’s not one size fits all.
Walk me through this, someone
can come in from the community
Who is down and out, they can
come in and pick what they want?
-So abandoned, abused, divorced,
widowed, or for whatever reason
living in extreme poverty, usually
with children below $12,000 a year
Here in America.
-So you focus on women, right?
-Women and children but if
they’re refugee families coming
like the Afghani refugees are coming soon.
That’s a whole family,
we certainly will not say no.
We have a six month to one year program
For that kind of reintegration into life.
But the refugees tend to be
extremely resilient ’cause they’re already
coming with skill sets and this is
something people don’t understand
We always think like,
“Oh, they’re such a burden.”
That’s not true.
That’s very wrong thinking.
They’re actually extremely resilient.
-A question a lot of people will have,
“Where’s the funding come from?”
-It comes from everyone.
It comes from everywhere.
Now that we’re established
it comes from grants.
We’re CNN heroes.
So we had a big international platform
It comes from everywhere, schools
You can see, this is from the Church
of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Just to show you how the world
can work together.
Look at this.
This is such a beautiful gesture.
But it comes in all kinds of ways.
And what’s happening here…
-So you’re not focused who can
come in here can be from any faith
Now the lighting is not
gonna be very good in here but
this is just a new construction zone?
-This is going to be the sewing
center, the industrial sewing center.
It’s under construction.
I can’t imagine.
You know when I walked into
this building I’m like,
“We’re gonna have a client corridor
and it’s gonna be two floors,
and a woman is gonna walk in.
She might be very
broken and down and out
but by the time she leaves through
this door she’s gonna be empowered.
She’s gonna break her children’s
inter-generational cycle of poverty
She’s gonna feel unabused.
People walk in here and see poverty.
I walk in here and I see hope.
I see success.
I see determination.
I see resilience.
I see the human family working together.
-So how many women are trained
through your organization every year?
-About 120 to 150.
But it’s just thinking
about what you need, Peter
in your life and what I
need, and to understand
they need the same things we need.
-Most of all
understanding, and a chance.
So you got all sorts of stuff over here.
China, vases, cooking stuff, fans.
-And I love that ’cause I feel like
Zaman is what the world should be like
just in 40,000 square feet
instead of the entire world.
-Wouldn’t the world be amazing if
people didn’t have to hit the bottom?
You know what I mean?
And you said something earlier when
you were talking about homelessness.
What I loved about what you said
is you understood the categories
that people fall into but
you didn’t call them lazy.
-Okay, so what I said off-camera was
“There are four basic types
that I’ve seen from my
experience in the country.”
Now many other types…
Drug abuse, alcohol abuse,
sometimes those go together.
People honestly down on their luck.
Lost a job.
Few things happened
at once, out in the streets.
And then people that just want to
freeload and just live off the system
and don’t want to work.
So those are the four main
categories that I’ve seen
and it breaks down many other ways
So you can’t put a label on it.
You can’t just say, “Homeless.”
It’s like all sorts of conditions
have put people into that place.
-But what I do see also…
I don’t know if we’ll disagree
on this and that’s okay if we do
what I do see is
you can give out money to people.
You can give hotel rooms
like they’ve done in California
but if you’re not teaching them a skill.
If you’re not holding people accountable.
If you’re just giving with no expectations
that mostly doesn’t lead to a good outcome.
-Right, because it’s not solutions based.
It’s a Band-Aid, you know.
-It’s a Band-Aid, exactly.
So in San Francisco we had
Project Room Key, 20 hotels.
Homeless got rooms basically
in some high-end hotels too
but to put someone in a hotel
room that has mental issues
doesn’t have any real
skills to work anywhere…
-Yeah, it’s a Band-Aid.
And even if you put a roof over
someone’s head it doesn’t mean
that they have the love and
the connection that we crave
as human beings.
-Yeah, I know what you mean.
No matter what it is it’s
the community out there.
-Even if there is all sorts of
nefarious things going on like
heroin or whatever, or Fentanyl.
There is a community.
Endless rows of clothes here.
You have some good stuff.
Brand new Dickies.
-You know, we have stories.
I have a woman who is here.
She was a millionaire…
and fell on hard times.
What do you mean?
She actually had all these assets?
She was heavily indebted or what?
-She was one of our donors actually.
She was the first woman
who gave me a $10,000 check.
Now she’s a client receiving services.
So we never know when
someone’s gonna fall on their luck.
We never know.
-What happened, can you say?
-Well, there was an unfortunate
incident with her ex-spouse.
Who put her in poverty
based on some bad
decisions that he had made.
And so she’s been carrying
this load for over 15 years.
I’m like, “You just need to come here.”
Now she’s here.
She’s doing amazing
and she’s going to have a skill set.
She’s gonna be employed.
I know $15 an hour is nothing for
a person who’s been a millionaire
but it takes you from nothing to something
and then you can grow from there.
Think of Zaman as like
stepping stones, right?
Or climbing a mountain,
and you’re just gonna go
one at a time.
-But you’re gonna reach the
top of that mountain on your own.
-You’re giving the tools.
But you hold the individual responsible
for what they want to do with those tools.
Is that true?
So how do you foster a positive mentality?
Because I feel like so much of
this stuff comes through mentality.
If you have a victimization mentality,
whether right or wrong
whether it’s true or not
it’s really hard mentally
to overcome, right?
To accelerate in your life.
How do you get over those hurdles?
Which is why we have a
robust social services department
with social workers
but we also are opening up a health clinic
’cause COVID taught
us there is the physical
and there is the mental.
-Have you noticed more of a
mental health issue in society
because of COVID?
-The last year and a half?
Mostly I think due to a lack of control
Back to living in community.
So child care and transportation,
two major league barriers.
So this end is going to
become a child care center.
Because even if we get these women to work
what are they going to
do with their little ones?
So if they’re in school that’s
fine but when they’re not in school
we need a way to help support them.
So the second board
room is going to go away.
-What’s happened to these families?
I don’t know how it was here in Michigan
but in California during the
pandemic in San Francisco
kids had to be home.
A lot of parents had to work.
Was there a lot of that going on here?
A lot of stress.
-So a lot of kids?
-A lot of kids.
The bigger problem is that the
women don’t want to get vaccinated.
So we struggle with it and
the reason why they don’t want
to get vaccinated is
’cause they’re single moms
and they’re afraid that
if they get vaccinated
that something may happen to them.
And I’m like,
“If you don’t get vaccinated
you’re at high-risk for losing your life.”
So get the vaccinations and
we’ll deal with a couple of days
that you’re not feeling well.
This is how we started.
Just back of the van
leaving food at people’s
door steps because they didn’t
want to be identified.
Moving to a hot food program.
Started burying babies because so
many babies because so many babies…
People don’t have money
to bury their own babies.
So we bought a baby cemetery.
Teams come in and they help out.
We have a run team,
they run all over the world
and they say, “Ask me about Zaman.”
on their backs
and that’s how they fight poverty.
Then we have international programs.
We’re in 20 countries.
-I didn’t know that, in 20 countries?
-We have projects in 20 countries.
-This is your one location in the
States and then you have projects
in 20 countries?
We team up with
International Medical Corps
and we do disaster relief and water
wells, especially where
women and children are.
Girls, to give them opportunity.
I grew up poor but we
never knew we were poor.
My dad worked on the
line at Ford Motor Company
like all the other immigrant
families that came here did
but there was love in our house.
So maybe we didn’t grow
up with this big scale home
but we grew up in a neighborhood
where everyone was poor
but we did not know it
and the reason why we
didn’t know it is because
there was so much love in the house.
That’s what I think is missing.
-This is the big problem
in society right now?
-I think so.
I think in our country too
it is because it’s them,
us, kind of mentality
but this is the United States of America
and if we’re going to be so
individualized and take sides
and forget the fabric of this
incredible beautiful country
then at this point and time our
problem isn’t about the the economics.
Our problem really is about
perception of who is
American and who is not.
You cannot tell me my family
has been here 135 years.
Just because I’m wearing a
hijab, that I’m un-American.
I’m more American than some of
the people are in the White House.
-Technically more American than me.
-There you go.
-My family lineage came over later
but where is your family from originally?
-Syria and Lebanon.
-Syria and Lebanon, okay.
Has that been any barrier for you?
I want to go back to what
we were talking about but…
-My scarf or my original family?
-Your scarf, being Muslim in the US.
-So originally, of course.
Post 9/11 it was a rough time.
It wasn’t a fun time at all.
The politics of it as you
are with us or against us.
I’m like, “I’m not against us.”
This is my country but
walking on an airplane
in hijab, it was painful.
Getting judged all the time was painful.
Some people thought I was a nun
and had great respect, other
people thought I had cancer
but those who are suspicious of
everyone who doesn’t look like them
you see the darts coming out of their eyes.
When I’m standing up,
you know, national anthem
it makes me cry.
It just brings me to tears
but I’m more of a college football fan.
Always wanted to be in the
University of Michigan marching band
which didn’t happen
in my life but that’s fine.
But college football is a
big thing for our family.
So tailgating and the whole nine yards.
-Muslims don’t drink at all?
They shouldn’t drink at all.
-They’re human, some are, obviously.
-Muslims are like anyone else, right?
So they come in all sizes and shapes and
not all pray, not all fast.
My dad was in the army,
my uncles were marines
One of my cousins is now
commander of a Navy ship now.
Recently has his own ship
and so the American flag for me,
we’ve always had an American flag
My dad wanted an
American flag at his grave.
The flag for me is a symbol of unity.
It’s a symbol of our history and I love it.
I’ve been saying the pledge of
allegiance since I was five years old.
When you live in poverty
your cortisol levels are up
you have system-organ issues
You don’t have money to buy fresh food.
So you’re grabbing the carbs,
the potato chips, the fast food
It fills your belly, it makes
you feel good, right?
I have four kids.
I went back to college
when my youngest was four years old.
Put the backpack on, went back
for my second nursing degree.
Sat down, put my papers,
my tests on the refrigerator
like we put their tests up.
-How old were you when
you went back to college?
-How was that?
Was that humbling?
-It was very humbling to sit in
college class with a bunch of
19 and 20 year old people.
And I went to a Catholic University.
-Interesting, you didn’t
have a problem with that?
-I felt so at-home with the
blessed virgin mother Mary.
Every time I looked at
a statue we looked alike.
Not that I’m her but she wore hijab.
-Do you have Christian
friends, Jewish friends?
-Atheist friends, I have everything.
Because I do end of
life work I’m aware that
I’m not in charge of
the breath that I take.
Somebody else is in charge of that breath
And so that’s why I work so
hard to do this work because
I’m aware of the breath that I take.
I can’t talk to you for one
more second unless someone is
giving me a chance to talk to you.
Welcome, have a seat.
-What are your goals with this, Najah?
Where do you want to take this?
Where do see things in 10 years?
-Well, I would like for Ziman
to be a household word.
Like American Red Cross
or like the Girl Scouts
and then the other thing is I
want it to realize its full potential
in other countries or other
states in the United States.
Doesn’t have to be 40,000 square feet.
but I want to build the
model of how you do it.
Go to the Senate
stand in the Senate chambers and say,
“This is how you break the cycle
of poverty, okay?”
and we did most of it
without government help.
So if we can do it…
-All private donations?
-So I think this is one
thing I want to say to people
that perhaps live very far from poverty
in a gated community perhaps.
You’ve removed yourself to some degree.
This will affect everyone
in the future in this country.
The way things are going.
The metal health issues,
the unemployment because
people don’t have the skills.
The support, the know-how, some
are just lazy and don’t want to work.
But this is a problem we’re
all going to be dealing with
and it’s growing exponentially.
I was out of the country for four years
after coming back it’s like, “Whoa.”
COVID put a 10x on everything.
-This is Batman and Robin.
Sometimes yeah, that’s how we are.
-Who’s the Joker?
-Who’s the Joker?
Oh, there’s no Joker here.
-Okay, I’m not the Joker.
-No Joker but this is Galzane.
Gal is the first person to get hired
at Zaman International and she
has literally built this organization.
Her and I, hand in hand
with a lot of help.
I’m sending you off with cookies.
-Proper rating: The cookie is solid.
It’s got the flavor, the consistency.
It’s a soft cookie, I don’t
like a crunchy cookie.
It’s a soft cookie and you
don’t use much BS in here.
There are not many
preservatives in here, right?
-No, I’m a nurse.
We can’t put junk in food.
-There’s no junk in here.
-Citric acid and all those
preservatives, they’re killing us guys.
You need to stop eating that stuff.
Okay, so I think that’s gonna
be great way to get money.
Here to build the organization.
-I hope so.
But the bottom line is women can work.
They can make these cookies.
Here you go.
-Thank you so much Najah.
-Thank you so much
I appreciate you, Peter.
-Let’s walk over here.
Thank you so much.
They’re doing a beautiful thing here.
If you want to see more
of what they’re doing, I’ll
leave some links below.
to your website.
Down the road you’ll be
able to purchase the cookies.
They’re trying to get a Whole Foods
So any of you at Whole Foods
that want to do a great cause
and support something amazing,
and have excellent cookies to sell
please reach out to Najah and the team.
Thank you so much, love what you’re doing.
We, as a country,
need more of this.
So to see it in action
is a beautiful thing.
-Thank you, I appreciate that.
-Thanks for doing our story.
-All right guys, ’till the next one.
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