(W) Dounya Awata (A) Garry Leach, Miralti Firmansyah
Dounya Awada is a 24-year-old, devout Muslim, happy, healthy, and very much alive. But just a few years before, she nearly starved to death. Her struggle began when she was six years old. Little Dounya wanted nothing less than to be perfect, like her mother. In Dounya’s culture, food is nearly synonymous with love. Food is nourishment, nourishment is love, love is life. Dounya began to eat to fill the growing need within her. She grew in size, eventually hitting over 200 pounds at just age 15. Food became her only friend. Her peers mocked her. She felt utterly alone. Her obsession with food did a turnabout. Dounya’s horrific struggle with eating disorders has led her to advocate for boys and girls facing the same hurdles with which she struggled.