Dr. Curt Rhodes
June 01, 2023
Founder's Series: Our Founder and Chief Vision Officer, Dr. Curt Rhodes, on what it means to serve the last.

Silent is what I am when another human uncovers to me their deepest suffering. Silent because a heart burning with sorrow does not want sounds. Wordless nearness is better.  A time will come for us to speak and to do.

I listened to the young father of a young family in northwest Syria, “Something more terrible than anything we could ever have dreamed shattered our lives.

“We had no possible way to imagine that – after 12 war-years of danger, anguish, terror and economic collapse – there could be something worse. But there was. In just seconds everything vanished under broken chunks of concrete slabs and twisted iron.”

My eyes had no tears, just burning and dry. Inside me, I felt all empty and twisted and strangled as he continued his witness to his loss.

“The home my wife and I had sacrificed for, just … vanished. We had moved from a city to a small rural town to protect our children from the horrors of the war raging around us. A place to be happy and secure together – our walls plastered with photos and awards and school certificates of our kids.

“And then, gone. My wife, my life partner, the mother of my children… gone. Children …  gone. The worst part was digging them out of the rubble with just my bare hands. In those terrible shaking seconds of that day, I lost everything.

“Except my son. My boy who survived. A little son whose eyes look back to my eyes with deep, unreachable sadness, fear and loss. I can only hope that this surely is a dream, and we will wake up and it will not be true. It will not be real. Surely!?

“But, it is not a dream. It is reality. Now the two of us live on a mattress provided for us in a temporary community shelter, with a cooking pot and some spoons and knives.

“We are so grateful, so thankful for EVERYONE who has helped us, comforted us, supported us. But.

“Now, I need to rebuild my house. Even if it is only a single, small room for my son and me to have a space of our own to be secure together like before our world came crashing down on our heads.”

The time has come for us to be wordlessly near them with generosity that will forever change their lives. Getting them back into a house, father and son, secure together again.  There are thousands of young mothers and fathers like him, waiting and willing to rebuild.

Wordless. Nearness. Genuine love in a time of great loss. Are you “in?” I am!

Please donate today.


Curt pic1
Founder & Chief Vision Officer

Dr. Curt Rhodes

Curt Rhodes has spent close to 40 years working with, and on behalf of, marginalized communities and young people across the Middle East.

As the recipient of the 2014 Dr. Jean Mayer Global Citizenship Award, Dr. Rhodes was recognized by Tufts University for his demonstrated compassion and tenacity in creating a highly effective and determined organization dedicated to the survival and nurturing of the most vulnerable and disenfranchised.

In recognition of his work with marginalized youth in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and in the region, Dr. Rhodes was awarded 2011 Social Entrepreneur of the Year for the Middle East and North Africa by the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship.

Dr. Rhodes began his career in the Middle East in the early 1980s, as Assistant Dean in the School of Public Health at the American University of Beirut. During the 1982 invasion of west Beirut, he volunteered in a community-based clinic alongside students and friends, doing around-the-clock triage for wounded and ill civilians. That was when the seed idea for Questscope began to take shape. Living and working with people in great suffering compelled him to find a way that he and others in the Middle East could assist the most vulnerable: participating with the voiceless ones in invisible communities.

In 1988, Questscope was founded with the goal of putting the last, first. From the beginning, Questscope worked closely with local communities, identifying their aspirations and together addressing their greatest needs.