Some of the most vulnerable and neglected Syrian refugees and Yezidi IDP's (Internally Displaced People) in Northern Iraq are families who have a family member with a disability. Operation Mercy empowers people with disabilities and their families by providing assistive devices, physical therapy and emotional resilience programs. Currently, Operation Mercy serves 80 clients and their families.
The wars in Syria and Iraq have devastated many people. Many Syrian refugees and Yezidi IDP's live in camps in Northern Iraq which are hard places to live. Besides being a refugee or IDP, some of them have a disability which worsens their circumstances. Hardly any services are provided for them and their families and their health deteriorates quickly. Operation Mercy realized that they couldn't leave the most vulnerable without trying to see a tangible difference in their lives.
Operation Mercy started a mobility project in 4 Syrian and Yezidi camps. Currently they serve 80 people with a disability by the distribution of assistive devices when needed, but mostly by providing physical therapy for the clients. Physical therapists assess the clients and recommend exercises. Trained Operation Mercy staff follow up with weekly visitations to track and aid the families in the exercises. They also provide emotional resilience programs for clients and their families.
People with disabilities continue to be kept on the margins in Northern Iraq, especially among the refugees and IDP's. This project meets the special needs of their specific disability, increases their ability for autonomy, supports vulnerable underserved families and allows the disabled community to advocate for their unique needs.