This month the Friends of ZT will be embarking on our first volunteer action mission. Our group of twenty five visionaries will be travelling from Toronto to Iraq with the hope of helping the many in need there, especially the children.
In our previous articles, we have been discussing the many challenges faced by children around the world, with a particular emphasis on those in developing nations. We have discussed the struggle for access to education, health care, food and the challenges associated with displacement. Unfortunately, all these struggles can be seen first-hand in Iraq, where it is estimated that up to 11 million people need humanitarian assistance, 5 million of which are children1. These children are most often lacking access to safe water and sanitation, education, medical care, and in the case of those who have been displaced, a stable home to call their own.
Among these children requiring humanitarian assistance, there are millions of orphans left behind from years of war and terror. The challenges facing these orphan are vast. Not only do they have to deal with the regular challenges that come with being a child in a war torn country, they also have to do it without a complete support system. The majority of these children have lost their sole bread winner, leading to financial challenges and a greater lack of access to what they need. They are also commonly suffering with the various psychological effects that come with losing a parent. Some have even seen their parent(s) being killed, or witnessed other acts of violence to themselves or their family directly.
In response to these issues, our team will attempt to take part in as many Zahra Trust projects as possible to help the children of Iraq. Some of our time will be dedicated to aiding in the newly opened Zahra Trust Clinic serving people of all ages. In this clinic we will be able to see first-hand the medical challenges facing the vulnerable children of Iraq and we hope to be able to aid as much as we can. We will also be working in the Zahra Trust Learning Centre, which aims to teach and provide educational support to the orphans and vulnerable children of Iraq. During our time at the Learning Centre our team will be helping teach English to the children and supporting the centre staff.
One of our most anticipated activities will be preparing and hosting a holiday celebration with the children and families supported by the Zahra Trust. This holiday celebration (in honour of Eid al Adha, one of the greatest celebrations among Muslims) hopefully will be a source of happiness to these children who have lost so much and face so many challenges on the daily basis. The issue that commonly occurs for children needing humanitarian assistance, is that we forget they are children. We focus on providing basic necessities, which is of course something good, however we forget that we need to also facilitate activities for these children to find happiness and to reward them for their hard work. After all, they are children and just like all children around the world, they would like to have fun and enjoy the beautiful things in life.
As the Friends of ZT continue to prepare for our volunteer action trip to Iraq in the coming two weeks, this will be our last article until mid-September. We hope you have benefited from our pieces so far, and we hope to have stories to share upon our return, including the stories of orphans and vulnerable children supported by the Zahra Trust in Iraq. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we plan to embark on this journey to help others and purify ourselves in the process.
If you’d like to keep updated with our activities throughout our trip like our page on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/friendsofZT/