Mar 14, 2018

Really? Money doesn't "buy" love?

Street Lawyers, social workers on the streets
Street Lawyers, social workers on the streets

Really?  So money doesn't buy love? 

We beg to differ.  The donations you have made through Global Giving to our "Baghdad Street Lawyer and Hope Bus" projects have delivered lots of love, protection, nutrition, learning and happy play times for some of the poorest and most vulnerable kids in Iraq. 

Together as a team, we made a difference for hundreds of orphans and vulnerable children in Iraq in 2017. Here are a few numbers:

*  253 received legal protection, defense, and advocacy from the Baghdad "Street Lawyers"

*  339 got missing legal identity documents that are required to go to school and get basic government benefits.

*  250 got help from caring social workers to stop child labor, end abuse, address health needs, and more.

*  82 boys and girls (including some who still work) got tutoring, nutrition, social services, and playtime at the Hope Bus

But, of course, numbers never really tell the whole story or the life-changing impact on individual boys and girls.  How do you measure the impact of a street lawyer who helps rescue a teen girl from sex trafficking and an orphaned teen boy from organ trafficking?  How do measure the impact of the Hope Bus when a young girl who gets tutoring passes that gift of love on to other kids in her neighborhood by "teaching" them what she is learning?  Or uncovering the kidnapping of a 3 year old girl who was then sold to a woman to use for begging on the street? 

What if a Street Lawyer did not show up?  Or a social worker? Or a teacher?  The beauty is that they did.  And it is because of you!

We invite you to ask just one person you know - from family, friends, and colleagues - to sign up for a monthly donation to help these kids.  Even $10 a month will help feed a nutritious lunch to 5 children.  And most people will barely miss $10! 

And if you are in the DC area, join our May 5th IN THEIR SHOES 5K to benefit Iraq's most vulnerable children.

Again, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for being on our ICF team for Iraqi kids!

Teaching kids about danger on the streets
Teaching kids about danger on the streets
A girl on the street gets food
A girl on the street gets food
Showing off their work on the Hope Bus
Showing off their work on the Hope Bus

Links:

Dec 18, 2017

Celebrating with Sara! Remembering little Rana....

A young girl practices writing on the Hope Bus
A young girl practices writing on the Hope Bus

What would we do without you!  You inspire us.  And you are the fuel to power our projects for Iraqi orphans, street kids, and children displaced by violence.  But, progress is not always a straight line.  Read on and you will see what we mean as the stories of Sara* and Rana* end very differently.   

Eight-year old Sara's* father was killed fighting ISIS.  She, her mother, and teenage brother were left in extreme poverty.  Her brother was unemployed, and Sara and her mother worked on the street collecting cans from the trash.  Sara was even arrested by the juvenile police for begging, but released after her mother pledged not to let her beg again. She suffered from skin disease, toothaches, and malnutrition. But then Sara's story takes an amazing turn!  She discovered the magic of the Hope Bus where she got tutoring and nutritious meals.  With medical care, she was restored to health.  The Baghdad Street Lawyers got the legal documents she needed and this fall she went back to school.  The team also helped the mother and brother get new jobs, allowing them to rent a small apartment.  Sara and her family now enjoy a new, stable life, thanks in large measure to the generous support you provide.  

Ten-year old Rana's* story ends differently, breaking our hearts.  She, too, enjoyed tutoring and nutritious meals on the Hope Bus and attended as often as her mother would permit.  But, despite the persistent intervention of a social worker, the mother often refused to let Rana go to the Hope Bus, forcing her instead to work on the street, begging and selling small items.  In October, little Rana was hit by a car while working on the street and died before she reached a hospital.  We grieve for what could have been and are only consoled that while she lived, the Hope Bus nurtured and loved this precious child. 

So what will your donations do next?  How many more children will experience the love and hope delivered by the Street Lawyers and staff who provide tutoring and social services?   Truly, it is up to you!  Ready to up your game as we close 2017?  Please give, often and generously.  We thank you for being a part of our team!

*Names and pictures are changed for privacy

Playing outside the Hope Bus
Playing outside the Hope Bus
Studying air volume in science class is a party!
Studying air volume in science class is a party!
Hope Bus provides 1,000+ yummy meals monthly
Hope Bus provides 1,000+ yummy meals monthly
Oct 25, 2017

How do you say "no" to a hurting child?

A little girl shares her dreams for the future
A little girl shares her dreams for the future

Well, as it turns out it is very, VERY difficult to say "no." And, truth is, we don't want to.  Although the Hope Bus was designed with desks to accommodate 40 students, some days as many as 59 extremely vulnerable and desperately poor Iraqi boys and girls crowd aboard the bus for classes and a healthy lunch.  The staff tell us how hard it is to deny a child the opportunity to participate.  So, it is very cozy and the kids squeeze in a little tighter.  Best option?  Maybe it is time for Hope Bus 2?

We are also happy to share some good news.  This fall, 15 children from the Hope Bus "graduated" to go to public school.  They joined another 86 kids that got help from our street lawyers to secure their legal documents so they could go to school too.  That's 101 kids who have access to education because of our generous donors.  Bravo!  Thanks to all of you!

The Hope Bus is just one part of a team of street lawyers, social workers, and tutoring staff.  Many kids get help from part of the team but, once in a while, one child gets the help of all three.  Take 8-year old "Sara" (not her real name) who lost her father three years ago in a battle against ISIS.  She, her mother, and older brother lived in a small room in extreme poverty.  At first, Sara begged on the streets until police picked her up.  She was released after her mother promised not to let her beg again.  So Sara went to work with her mother instead, collecting tin cans.  She suffered from skin disease, toothaches, and malnutrition.  Living in poverty and suffering, school was a distant dream for this little girl.  

But, thanks to terrific donors like you, some dreams do come true. Sara started attending classes on the Hope Bus and stopped working.  She got nutritious meals and health care.  The street lawyers helped her get the required legal ID document to enroll in school.  Sara's mother got help filing for financial support from the government. The team found jobs for the mother and older brother which, in turn, enabled them to rent a small apartment.  And, to top it off, Sara said goodbye to the Hope Bus to go to school!  

Yes, you are donors.  But more than that, you are indispensable "Dream Makers."  All of us at ICF thank you from the bottom of our heart for being a part of the team to make dreams come true!  Never doubt how much you are needed.

Today, everyone gets a visit from the dentist
Today, everyone gets a visit from the dentist
Street lawyer talks to kids in displaced area
Street lawyer talks to kids in displaced area
Recovering lost childhoods with fun and learning
Recovering lost childhoods with fun and learning
On the Hope Bus, studying the human skeleton!
On the Hope Bus, studying the human skeleton!
 
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