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Only two feet tall, but helping families across the globe

Published:Sunday | September 8, 2019 | 12:00 AMTamara Bailey - Gleaner Writer
Co-founder of the Harris Family Vision Foundation, Nekhidia Harris at a recent outreach session in the parish of Manchester.

Mandeville, Manchester:

At 24 years old, Nekhidia Harris, an American born to Jamaican parents, is shorter than an average four-year-old, but she is short of nothing.

With a heart that loves and is driven by a spirit of giving, if Harris’s heart should represent, physically, the magnitude of her selfless service, it would be too big to fit inside her body.

The two-foot-11-inch co-founder of the Harris Family Vision Foundation Inc, said that she didn’t grow up thinking that her abilities would never be enough for her to do great things.

“I have brittle bones. My diagnosis is undiagnosed because I fit into so many diagnoses. I have been to doctors all over the world to find out what the problem is, but they can’t find it. God is good, and He made me unique. I was fearfully and wonderfully made, and I strive towards excellence, and excellence in education.”

It is this passion that has seen her completing a bachelor’s degree in social work and currently pursuing a master’s degree in that field while helping children, particularly in Jamaica, realise their dreams of getting a good education with much-needed tools and resources.

“The foundation helped me make my decision to study social work because I love helping, and it’s a part of my genes to give back, especially to children. Children obviously gravitate to me because they say I’m like them. They say, ‘Oh my gosh, she’s small like me’. And I do believe this is my calling,” said a cheerful Harris.

Harris’ foundation, which officially started 13 years ago, recently provided medical checks and back-to-school items to hundreds of children in central Jamaica.

“When I see the needs, it affects me because sometimes the privileged take things for granted. In the US, you can go to stores and get some items easily, and then you come here, and you see how hard it is for the people to get things. This experience has really grounded me, and I have to give God thanks for what I have and share some of what He has blessed me with,” she stated.

Harris’ parents were told that she may only live a few days after birth, but she has surpassed the expectations of many and continues to thrive.

“People always come up to me and say I am an inspiration to them because of what I do, knowing they are bigger in body. Each time it happens, it confirms that I can really make a difference in the lives of others. I have had my difficulties. I remember my final year of school: I had finals back to back, no sleep, and I spoke to God, and He heard me. There were times I submitted work and I wasn’t sure of the grade I would get, and I end up receiving an A+!”

She said that there will be points when because of difficulties, it will seem easy to doubt God, but focus and faith strengthening are key.

“Trust in God, and know that He is going to bring you through. We will always come upon our Red Seas, and we won’t see any way out, but God will provide like He did for Moses. The support from my family is important, and thank God for my family, friends, and church family, because I wouldn’t have made it this far without them. I started walking late, reading late, everything. But they never gave up on me.

“My father always tells me, ‘Use your brain as your height’, and that is what I have done. I have a sister who is three years younger than I am, but she is taller. I told her one day that she may be taller, but I am the boss! My parents have always empowered me to do great things, and I just want to continue touching lives,” she ended, beaming.