Iraq has been hard hit by COVID-19. ICF's "Rapid Response Fund" supports urgent action for orphans, street kids, and other vulnerable children. Across all projects, ICF has already funded 1,379 packages for kids and families in Baghdad, Basra, Mosul, and Erbil. Each package helps feed and provide hygiene supplies for a family of 5 for a week. Funding also supports COVID protection (e.g. masks, etc.) for social workers, teachers, and lawyers who continue to care for kids during COVID.
COVID is just the latest threat to Iraqi orphans and vulnerable children. The worldwide pandemic has hit Iraq hard. Schools closed in mid March. Frequent curfews made distribution of food and hygiene supplies difficult. Iraq's health infrastructure is in poor condition after years of war, and hundreds of doctors are reported infected. As many families stayed home and some parents lost jobs, the risk of violence against children increased.
Providing critical food and hygiene packages to poor kids and families helps ensure nutrition and home health protection. Such support also helps prevent kids from being sent to the street to beg. As weather permits, the Hope Buses are open for outside classes with social distancing, masks, and taking of temperatures. Lawyers and social workers also need PPE to continue legal protection and social services. For all activities, the health of children and staff are our highest priority.
In the long term, protecting families from COVID by providing hygiene supplies can protect children from the trauma of losing loved ones to this dread disease. Curbing COVID's spread can also means the life-changing impact of education can continue. Last, food and hygiene support can protect children from being forced to beg on the streets or the increased risk of abuse from adults who have lost jobs during COVID.