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Our founder

Norma Zaiback Nashed is the President and Founder of Restore a Child, formerly known as Reaching Hearts for Kids. Throughout her childhood she experienced extreme poverty as an orphan. She believes this has prepared her heart to be sensitive to the needs of economically-disadvantaged children and those orphaned due to HIV/AIDS and living on the streets in Africa and elsewhere. She started the organization in 1999 working alone from a small home office.

Testimonials about Norma

"It has been my privilege to know Norma Nashed for a number of years.  Her remarkable life story and commitment to children is unparalleled.  May this telling inspire all of us to recognize the challenges in our world today and do more to assist the 'least of these.' "

- Richard L Hart, M.D., Dr.PH, President of Loma Linda University

"Norma Nashed is an amazing woman! From a humble childhood in Jordan, to orchestrating and operating an international relief agency, basically on her own. This book documents her life, her struggles, and triumphs, her vision and her frailties’. Norma’s unswerving commitment to the Biblical principal of feeding the hungry, caring for the fatherless, and providing education for those underserved children so that they can have a better life, is her passion and her legacy."

- Larry Blackmer, Retired VP of North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists

As a scholar, teacher, author, and editor William Johnsson vividly portrays the “amazing story of an Arab girl who became a champion for orphans.”  In Norma: Beyond Their Tears, Johnsson brings to light the workings and development of an orphan girl that propelled her into becoming a global megaphone through the Restore a Child ministry for orphans and needy children.  Starting to read this heart-touching and captivating book becomes difficult to put down.  Norma Nashed lives by faith—no salary, no retirement, no medical insurance.  She has partnered with God.  Her life reflects her love to Jesus Who loves the children-- especially the orphans and little kids.  This book has the seed and the substance to inspire others to do likewise. Norma has blazed the way and showed humankind the true meaning of service and love.

- Edmond A. Haddad, Ph.D., Director, Loma Linda Broadcasting Network Arabic Channel, President, Middle East University, 1984-1990

My Story

Norma was born in Ramallah, Palestine but was raised in Jordan. The late Dr. Robert Darnell and his wife, American missionaries in the Middle East, took her into their home as their own daughter and provided her with care and education. She has worked in Lebanon, Jordan, Kuwait, Egypt, and the U.S. and traveled extensively in Europe.  She speaks Arabic, English, and French. Although she associated with the poor most of her life, through the position and influence of her boss, founder/president/CEO of Royal Jordanian Airlines, Norma was able to meet the late King Hussein of Jordan several times in her own office, and later mingled with other members of royalty.


She was one of the first two Jordanian girls to attend the first private pilot course in Jordan. After starting to fly, her training was interrupted by war and she left Jordan.  Norma served as secretary to the AOC (Airline Operators Committee-IATA Approved), and elected for seven years. She was the only woman among 41 international airlines managers serving Cairo International Airport, Egypt.  She later became Sales Office Manager, then Egypt Sales Promotion Manager for the airline in Egypt.  When she immigrated to America in 1985 she co-authored Speaking Professionally, an intermediate-level course in ESL (English-as-a-second language) targeted to the Middle East.

The idea of caring for needy children began while fighting cancer in 1999, at which time she visited her homeland after an absence of 12 years.  She took time to visit the school that she had to clean at 10 years of age to help pay for tuition, a high price to pay for Christian education in a culture that looks down on manual labor.  She noticed two students were sent home because their parents could not pay their fees.  Immediately her reaction was “How can you punish children for poverty?” It was a natural thing for her to pay $1,000 so that these two innocent children could continue their education.  She had done this on several occasions to allow children take their exams when she held the position of Students Account Manager in one school.


Nothing is more important to a displaced child than a stable environment, which is the reason that Norma is determined to see such children sheltered, protected and cared for in homes (orphanages) that provide for their physical and emotional needs; and at the same time ensure access to basic education impacting their lives. Her ministry has grown to serve thousands of children in multiple countries.

In 1999, after returning from a trip to Jordan, her homeland, she quit her job and started planning and organizing what has developed to be Restore a Child, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) humanitarian organization registered in the State of Maryland in 2010.

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