Jan 31, 2020

The Iraq news that's NOT in the headlines....

Learning about teeth and hygiene
Learning about teeth and hygiene

Dear friends:

It's hard to compete with news headlines and major geopolitical challenges in Iraq.  But we encourage you to close out that favorite news app or lay down that newspaper.  We have heartwarming news to share!  And it is all because of you and your kind support for the voiceless, vulnerable children of Iraq.

Looking back over 2019, we have reason to smile with you:

  • The Street Lawyers handled 492 legal representation cases (447 completed and 45 ongoing) involving charges ranging from stealing and vagrancy to prostitution, drugs, and other criminal charges.
  • The Street Lawyers also helped 335 children get their legal identity documents, opening the door to school enrollment and access to government support and reducing the need of children to work.
  • Social workers helped 259 children with social services to address medical needs, trauma, re-entering school after release from juvenile detention, visiting a parent in prison, autism and mental illness, and registering to get government benefits. 
  • Two Hope Buses served 243 children (full- and part-time), providing tutoring to approximately 100 students each school day and serving more than 20,000 nutritious meals in 2019. For the first time, a young girl who was paralyzed and couldn't leave home was given a wheelchair so she could come to the Hope Bus too. 

Numbers never tell the whole story.  We have so many favorite stories of children who got truly life-changing help in 2019 because of you: 

  • the 5 year old girl  who was tied to a wall at home because of severe mental disabilities is freed and given neurological treatment.
  • the girl found at the dump, who is a victim of repeated rape by adults, is brought to a shelter and given medical and psychological care. 
  • the 17 year old boy whose uncle tricked him to travelling to Erbil for a "job" but was secretly planning to sell the boy's kidney until police uncovered the scheme and prevented a case of organ trafficking
  • the 13 year old girl who was rescued from early marriage after her family was persuaded to let her continue her studies instead

There are so many more children and stories to warm your heart.  We are so very grateful for your partnership with us and hope that - together, as a team with you in 2020 - many more stories will be written of lives changed with love and hope among these children at the margins of society.  We are deeply committed to this cause and hope you will stay the course with us!

With much gratitude,
Cindy

P.S.  GlobalGiving is once again offering a 1-month match for new monthly donors up to $200.  Great time to start a small monthly donation if you are not already on board!

The first Hope Bus student in a wheelchair
The first Hope Bus student in a wheelchair
Time for handicrafts!
Time for handicrafts!
Time for a science experiment
Time for a science experiment
ICF team visits Hope Bus 1
ICF team visits Hope Bus 1
Dec 9, 2019

12-year old Zainab* gets wheels!

Zainab* gets a wheelchair and learning
Zainab* gets a wheelchair and learning

Dear Friends:

Thank you for loving and caring for the Iraqi orphans and street kids we serve!   Our hearts are touched when we see them, in turn, giving and helping others.  We think you will be proud too!

Take Zainab's story.   Zainab* (12) lives in a desperately poor neighborhood and is paralyzed.  She cannot walk so she never leaves home.  One day, Zainab sent a Hope Bus student on a mission to tell the teachers and staff about her situation.  The staff visited Zainab and immediately bought a wheelchair for her.  The next order of business was to register her at the Hope Bus so she can attend classes and enjoy lunch and activities with the other kids.  When it is time to go home, Zainab is accompanied on her journey home by the other children.  Her friends have made possible what so recently had been impossible for her!

This amazing care for other children reminds us of Ahmed,* who brought a large container of milk from the family cow to the Hope Bus one day.  Ahmed and his mother make their living by selling milk from their cow but that day, they decided not to sell it but instead donate it to the Hope Bus children.  What a sacrificial gift from this poor boy and his family.

And we are reminded of another girl, Mona* who came to the Hope Bus after she was forced to leave school and work on Baghdad's streets.  Mona was a smart girl and staff noticed that she would ask for extra notebooks and pens to take home. After repeated requests, staff learned that Mona was gathering six children near her home after class and teaching them what she had learned on the Hope Bus.

And we think of two brothers who behaved badly toward their mother but, after staff taught the children to respect their mothers, the boys changed and began taking home some of their lunch to share with their mother and make her happy.

We hope you take delight in knowing that the kindness and generosity you show to these precious children gets passed on.  These vulnerable children thrive on the love and care they receive and then share it with family and friends. 

At this special giving time of year, we hope these stories warm your hearts as they have warmed ours!

WIth deepest gratitude,
Cindy

*names changed for privacy

Sep 10, 2019

Who would do this?

Boys working on the streets
Boys working on the streets

Although we see many cases of children who need legal protection, some just take our breath away.  Ali's* case is one of them. 

When police checked their documents at a checkpoint on their way to Erbil, Ali (17) and his uncle looked suspicious.  The story that unfolded was chilling. 

Ali was travelling to Erbil because his uncle had convinced him to go along for "work."  In reality, his uncle had already agreed with organ traffickers to surgically remove Ali's kidney.  To satisfy legal requirements, the uncle fabricated Ali's legal ID to show that he was 20 years old and that he was a relative of the man who needed the kidney,  The price for Ali's kidney?  $8,000.  

Fortunately police discovered the fake ID and the uncle confessed to plotting to sell Ali’s kidney.   Both Ali and his uncle were charged with the crime of trafficking in human organs but, thanks to your support, the "Street Lawyers" came to Ali's defense and got the charges against him dropped.  Instead, Ali was deemed a victim of trafficking and ordered to be released to his family.  The Street Lawyers then contacted Ali’s maternal grandfather who took Ali to live with him. 

Yes, there are those "who would do this."  Such are the risks - some more extreme than others - that vulnerable boys and girls face in Iraq.  By equipping lawyers, social workers, and teachers to intervene on behalf of these children, your support provides love, safety, and nurture for as many as we can reach. 

The Iraqi Children Foundation team is grateful for your partnership with us in rescuing these children from danger.  We couldn’t help children like Ali without you!  As we begin preparing for 2020, we hope we can count on you to help us reach many more boys and girls in harm's way.

Best,
Cindy                                                                                                  *Name changed for privacy.

 

 

More boys working on the streets
More boys working on the streets

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