Northern IRAQ—CGR relief efforts continue amongst forcibly-displaced minorities. Here is an on ground report from Abraham Shepherd, sharing insights and stories about the ongoing crisis:
Back at home-base… a little weary but even more thankful for the many blessings we have when so many are without the basic necessities of life and with little hope for the future!
It seemed as if we toured the world in a week… so many diverse peoples in the historic land of Nineveh: Assyrians, Chaldeans, Suriyani, Yazidi, Turkmen, Syrian-Kurds, Kakai, Shabak, etc. All are forcibly-displaced minorities who fled for safety, struggling to survive, to muster the courage to go on living!
Safety is always an issue. There was an explosion on the same street as the hotel just a week earlier (Reuters: Car bomb kills three outside U.S. consulate in Iraq’s Kurdish capital) yet security has been increased & life goes on! And volunteers keep coming to help.
Reflecting, I realized that our local like-minded partners matched the North American volunteers in number and in passion—even though they themselves have lost everything! Their sweet spirits and desire to reach out to their fellowmen continues to amaze me!
Take *Ivory for example… you would never guess her story when you meet her. Her sweet smile is contagious!
Ivory was in her final year of medical school in Qaraqosh (historically the largest Christian city in N. Iraq) in the plains of Nineveh. ISIS came and everyone had to run for their lives, literally overnight! She lost everything… the university is gone! NO school transcripts! NO proof that she was ever a medical school student! She will have to start ALL over. Now she is learning yet another language and hopes to attend another university and begin again.
Yet her faith and sweet spirit continue… and she joins the volunteer doctors and nurses to provide translation for them, reaching out to help her neighbours wherever they are found. So the next time you are tempted to complain about school/studying, please remember Ivory!
The pictures below were from the first volunteer team that had activities and entertainment for the children who have experienced so much trauma. It’s amazing what a few games, balloons, stickers and lollipops can do to bring a smile to a child’s face! A little break from their daily boredom, living in seclusion—whether a camp-type setting or the upper floor of a downtown mall… I wish you could hear the children sing with such gusto and enthusiasm of their dream to return HOME!
Please remember these refugee children, who continue to endure the trauma of war:
Thank you for helping CGR to bring a little joy into the lives of these precious children! Thank you for your generosity in partnering with CGR in making a difference in the lives of many forcibly-displaced refugee children in the Middle East.
Anyone wishing to respond can help by donating to CGR’s Middle East Crises fund through the button below, visiting our donation page, or by purchasing a gift catalogue item related to the ongoing crisis. Downloadable cards through the catalogue are available, allowing gifts to be sent in the name of someone else.
To help Canadian Global Response teams working in this volatile area, please continue to share our updates across social media, and donate towards this cause. And keep checking our website for further information about the crisis and humanitarian relief efforts in Iraq and Syria.
*Name changed to protect the dignity and identity of individuals.