We Have Lift Off
Delivering legal protection, access to school, health care and so much more for Iraq's most vulnerable children.
After weeks of mobilizing support at the Dubai "Dine for Hope" event and the Washington, DC area "In Their Shoes" 5K, the Iraqi Children Foundation (ICF) has deployed the first tranche of seed money to provide legal protection, access to education, and social services to orphans, street children, and kids who've fled from violence.
Already, lawyers have helped 23 children get key missing ID documents that are required before they can return to school, get food, or other governmental benefits. Others have received pro bono legal representation, like Ahmed* who lost his father to a suicide bombing 3 years ago when he was 13. Ahmed dropped out of school and became the breadwinner for his widowed mother and 3 younger siblings.
After recently landing a new job delivering food for a restaurant, he was suddenly arrested on charges of possessing a stolen motorcycle and held for 4 months. But Ahmed insisted he had paid for the motorcycle. Lawyers helped prove Ahmed's innocence by investigating the case, and presenting witnesses and evidence. The outcome? The judge freed Ahmed to return home to continue caring for his family.
Social workers also helped 14 children with dental care, health care, and mediation at home in cases where kids are forced to work. Zainab*, a 9 year old orphan girl, sells water at traffic stoplights. Social workers went to bat for her and got her medical care for her typhoid and skin disease. When they approached the aunt with whom she lived to advocate for Zainab to return to school, the aunt rejected their appeals.
Mousa*, an 8 year old orphan, was a bit luckier. His widowed mother, who worked cleaning houses, neglected Mousa, leaving him to wander the streets. A social worker found him and persuaded his mother to let him go to school next fall. Following up with these and other cases is essential to ensuring these children get back into school and off the streets.
This is how children are rescued, one at a time by caring lawyers and social workers. ICF salutes the wonderful Iraqi caregivers who do this work with skill, courage, and perseverance.
*Names are changed for privacy.