Former UC Berkeley undergraduate Hanaa Djouider, remembered for her fearless nature and commitment to caring for underserved communities, died Feb. 24 after falling from a building on Telegraph Avenue. She was 25 years old.
Djouider had completed the fall 2015 semester at UC Berkeley but was not enrolled at the time of her death. She was undeclared in the campus’s College of Letters and Science but intended to pursue work in international development, according to her father, Brahim Djouider.
Hanaa Djouider was an advocate for Berkeley’s homeless community, making friends and working with community members who had mental disabilities.
“In spite of her young years and the daily anxieties of living, she followed the calling to serve the unfortunate, the disabled, and the homeless,” Brahim Djouider said in an email.
She also had a passion for working with children, and her devotion to service extended beyond Berkeley to Uganda, where she worked to support orphaned children affected by HIV-AIDS, according to her father. She also supported the Maghreb-American Health Foundation, which works to promote equity in health and improve quality of life for people living in the Maghreb region of north Africa.
“She was a giver — really passionate with people who had less, people in need,” said Stephanie Parks, a friend from her hometown in Auburn, Washington.
Hanaa Djouider didn’t see herself working a conventional job, her father said, instead telling him that if she were to do anything, it would be serving the homeless, the poor and the sick. It was her mission in life, something she knew before she even arrived in Berkeley, Brahim Djouider said.
Hanaa Djouider dropped out of high school her sophomore year when she was 16, which made her all the more proud when she left Washington for UC Berkeley in fall 2013, according to Parks.
Djouider’s father emphasized her unwavering devotion to her commitments.
“When she zeroed in on something, she did it. … If it fails, don’t look at it as a failure — just keep going,” he said. “She’s not afraid of anything, I tell you … she was fearless.”
Despite Hanaa Djouider’s toughness, she had a softer side as well. Her profound concern for others’ suffering was rooted in a sensibility that touched the hearts of others, her father said.
“She always had a way of turning every situation into something positive,” Parks said. “She was absolutely hilarious. She smiled all the time, literally all the time. … I just want to emphasize what a beautiful soul she was.”