There are points in our lives that define us and our life’s story. Whether or not we realize it at the time, the choices we make during those defining points guide us on a path, and reveal our character and purpose.
Fatima’s journey was defined by one such moment and Any Baby Can is grateful to have been a part of it.
Fatima’s family moved to the United States when she was an infant. They struggled when she was growing up. Fatima experienced homelessness and got pregnant at 20 years old. At 21 she gave birth to a little girl. Fatima made some admittedly unfortunate choices and was directed to Any Baby Can’s parenting classes. This was the point that changed the course of her life. She took to heart everything she learned from her parent educator, Mr. D. She vowed to give her daughter a better future.
“Knowledge is power,” says Fatima. “With the situation I was in, this class was phenomenal. At the time my daughter was a newborn, but I used what I learned as she got older too. Each day I made a decision to be a better parent. I’m so grateful. If it wasn’t for all the stuff I went through, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. And I’m still growing. It really was a blessing.”
Her daughter’s dad had a different story. He chose not to attend the classes with Fatima and his life followed a less prosperous path. Now he’s in prison and not a part of their lives.
Fatima’s daughter is almost eight years old now, and she’s a smart, happy young lady.
Throughout the years, Fatima has always looked for ways to give back. She felt inspired by Any Baby Can’s outreach in the community and her own personal struggles with homelessness, lack of access to food, and becoming a young mother.
“A struggle is temporary. I’m going to struggle but I’m going to overcome this. And I’m going to remember these days. And I’m going to give back,” recalls Fatima.
Fatima says she regularly recommends Any Baby Can to friends (and strangers!). She’s also part of a homelessness coalition with TxDOT, working with officials to come up with a long-term plan for the homeless camp off of US-183. She is warm and full of spirit as she connects with the men and women, many young or new parents, who are in a moment of need.
Fatima is a true entrepreneur. In September 2019, she started a catering and food delivery business called The Lettuce Lab. The Lettuce Lab sells fresh and delicious lettuce wraps. “Health is wealth!,” says Fatima. Her food is vegan-friendly and uses fresh farm-grown produce and meat. Each week, Fatima donates a portion of her proceeds to charities throughout Austin.
In addition to her start-up business, her volunteer work, and being a mother, she’s also going to school for physical therapy.
“My drive comes from my personal struggle. I’ve had to go without food to make sure my baby had a good meal. There are lots of people like myself who do not have access to healthy food,” says Fatima.
On a monthly basis, she delivers meals, information and education to people in need, with the hope of changing lives beyond her own. Her daughter comes with her, witnessing first-hand the importance of giving back and how far her family has come.
In 2019, Fatima helped 600 people through The Lettuce Lab street team. This year she’s set a goal to triple that!