On Thursday 7 November 2013, 4 shells were fired at the Shrine of Sayyidah Zaynab. One of the shells struck one of the minarets causing minor damage. Another hit the courtyard, injuring 30 people, 15 of which were women and children.
Winter has arrived and whilst many children across the world are excited, counting down till the winter holidays, it is very different for the displaced and orphaned children of Iraq. They long for school, for stability and normality, many of them have not only lost their homes and possessions but also their dear ones, including parents and siblings.
These tragic losses were even witnessed by the children themselves, traumatised and robbed of their childhood. School has become a distant memory for them. It seems that a whole generation will lose out on an education and way of upliftment, a future is uncertain and distant for them. Schools are where dreams are made, young children write and learn, planning their future. School and education is a right every child should have. A study conducted by Joanne Baker for Child Victims of War states that “just a few decades ago, Iraq was a good place for children. Despite the Iran/Iraq war, the majority of children in Iraq in the 1980s had secure home lives, excellent education, were well nourished”. According to UNESCO “The Education system in Iraq, prior to 1991, was one of the best in the region, with over 100% Gross Enrolment Rate for primary schooling and high levels of literacy, both of men and women. The Higher Education, especially the scientific and technological institutions, were of an international standard, staffed by high quality personnel.” Endless war including the ongoing war and conflict is challenging to take away the normal experience of school and education a distant memory to the countries young children.
Now there is no school for half a million children. Save the Children's Iraq Country Director Tina Yu states "These children have fled horrible violence and are living in extremely difficult conditions; it's essential that we give them some form of normality and stability through schooling". "Despite the authorities' best efforts, displaced children living in these schools as well as those from the host community risk missing out on weeks of valuable learning and falling behind their peers." Schools are no longer the place of learning and a place where children can dream and aspire for a better future, but an overcrowded place where many families have sought refuge.
The psychological impact of war on children is a major issue, some children are outwardly traumatised and unable to sleep, or talk or eat. However, some children are silent victims, they may not show outward signs and require support and a space to talk and discuss their experiences. They need a chance for a normal childhood, though they have seen, witnessed and heard heartbreaking scenes which have affected them personally.
School is an outlet, a free space where children can meet, socialise, play and learn together. To be children. To have a childhood. Classes were once full of young, bright eyed children eager for an education, now they are either destroyed and empty, or filled with displaced families. Playgrounds are empty, the sound of laughter and childish chatter is a sound that is often rare and unheard, instead children are silent, withdrawn and scared. They talk of kidnapping, murder and other crimes that have taken place to their loved ones.
Many of our childhood memories are those in school with classmates. Now school is a distant reality or even a myth for these innocent children of Iraq, caught up in a war and endless violence.
In binding with the capacity building nature of the long term objectives, The World Federation of KSIMC is looking into establishing schooling facilities for 1,000 children in partnership with other development partners, where all students will receive educational and recreational materials in the campsite
PLEASE DONATE: IRAQ RELIEF FUND - SHORT TERM HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE
This Muharram, ‘Welcome a Family’ who is displaced and has found refuge in Najaf, Karbala and areas South of Iraq, by gifting them with a ‘Home Comfort Kit’. Our goal is to raise $1 million USD to provide kits to 1,000 families. Your donation, be it great or small, will mean so much to those in need. Each kit costs $1,000 and includes:
- Winter Aid Packs (blankets, pillows, heaters, clean water)
- Hygiene Kits (towels, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, dishwashing and laundry detergent, feminine hygiene products, soap and baby diapers
- Emergency shelters and transitional housing
- Food ration
- Water and sanitation services and systems
- Emergency educational facilities
- Emergency healthcare facilities
To download poster, click on the PDF attached.
Donate directly to your Jamaat Treasurer
For more information, please email [email protected]
The World Federation is pleased to launch its second annual N2K WALK 2014 fundraising campaign and is inviting pilgrims planning to trek from Najaf to Karbala to raise money for its IRAQ RELIEF FUND to support displaced families in Iraq.
This year the humanitarian crisis in Yemen had affected hundreds of our Khoja community members.