We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.
This title hides the essence of my feelings after the first visit to Iraq this year.
It has been my sixth trip which at the same time strengthens my conviction that I have seen very little. Every single trip triggers many new thoughts and makes me look at everything around from a different perspective. We can’t help everyone who is in a difficult situation, but we can always do something for someone. At least we can try.
The purchase of livestock and the construction of crofts
As there is a lot of information to share with you, I have decided to write two separate articles. In the first one, I will refer to the main goal of our trip, namely two projects co-financed by the Department of Humanitarian Aid, which we are currently implementing. The second article will be more personal, related to the people pushed by war to the margins of society.
Last year, thanks to financial support received from the Department of Humanitarian Aid, we bought livestock for 80 poorest families from the wild camps in Iraq. It was our first such a large project for which we received external financial help. We had little time to select families, build crofts, buy animals and prepare financial statements. We started implementing the eproject in November, and by the 31st December we had to prepare its summary. At the end everything went well and, according to our opinion, the project was successfuly completed.
But it is not about statistics, it is about the people
In the mid-September, after a long-awaited finalization of an agreement with the Department of Humanitarian Aid (DPH) we proceeded with repeating the project. This year the Polish government co-financed the purchase of livestock for 180 families. Aid has been provided to three regions: Sinjar, a wild camp in Khanke and Bashiqa in the Nineveh Plains. Project assumptions are identical to the one a year ago. Only the scale has been much larger, and so has been the number of people who have received help. However, that is not the most important thing. What matters is helping families and future results. One more time I will refer to the video which I have already provided a link to above. In the video Bartek has explained all the details of the project and the need to collect funds for new activities that we are constantly undertaking.
The worst is to rest on one’s laurels
Receiving such a large financial support does not mean that we can quit traveling around Poland and collecting money for our next activities. On the contrary. It is related to the second project co-financed by the Department of Humanitarian Aid, but I will talk about it in a moment. The ad hoc help, the Great Job Project, the occupational therapy and many other forms of support provided to ISIS victims cannot be funded through formal applications for external resources. Hence, your help is so significant. As we have emphasized many times, we only bring good Polish hearts to Iraq.
Simultaneously with the project of supplying families with livestock we received a subsidy for the purchase of materials required for carrying out activities in the educational center OurBridge in Khanke (find out more). I have written many times about this place and its excellent work. It is a safe space which helps women and children fight their difficult memories. They can gain education as well as new experiences and skills here. The center offers, among others, reading and writing classes, maths, biology and chemistry lessons, basic computer skills courses, and sessions with a psychologist. Funding provided for the center until the end of the year by the DPH is nothing new in our schedule. Support for OurBridge in such a form began already in 2018. Next year, even after the project is finished, we will be trying to continue this undertaking. At the end of the year, we will re-launch fundraising for this purpose. It is very important, as every time we are in Iraq we can see its great results. Children smile and with time they leave traumatic experiences behind.
Launching new projects
On the 1st of October, I came to Iraq with a volunteer Bartek Piaseczny, who at the beginning of the year organized a fundraising in a church in Skołatów near Płońsk. As is always the case, he covered the cost of his trip himself. Our task is to conduct interviews with families which will receive livestock this year, as well as with those that have already received our help. We want to know how their life has changed and what effects our project has brought. Apart from that, we also check the prices of materials, supply conditions, etc. We also visit these places which have received our support asking people about their most urgent needs. I will write about this in the next article „Help is needed immediately”.