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Updated on 12 March 2018
This Ramadhan, The World Federation sent a member of its own team to Iraq to assist with Ramadhan Relief efforts as well as to assess the overall humanitarian needs in the region. This week, our team member wrote to us about ‘A Children’s Iftaar’ sponsored by The World Federation’s donors. Here is what he had to say:
“It’s 15th Ramadhan – the birthday of Imam Hassan (as) and the beautiful sound of children chattering excitedly rings through Ard al Furaat Restaurant in Najaf, Iraq where The World Federation sponsored an Iftaar Program for the city’s orphans. About 300 children and their families attended the dinner.
One mother we spoke to said, "Having Iftaar at Ard al Furaat Restaurant was a really enjoyable experience for us. It allowed the children to have some fun and it gave us a sense of belonging to a kind community who remember us on the occasion of the Birth of Imam Hassan."
It was a delightful sight to see happiness on the faces of these young children who have faced so many hardships including losing one or both of their parents at such a young age. They have seen wars and violence, and every day they go to sleep with emotional scars that are hard to imagine. Losing their fathers at a young age is so very painful and so apparent when you look into their eyes. Not only have they lost someone so pivotal in their lives, but now they are left to face the pangs of financial and social insecurities.
It was amazing to see how education and school has changed their lives for the better where they are building self-confidence, visioning their future and allowing hope to fill their hearts. This eagerness is attributed to all of our donors who have shown them what love is by sponsoring their education and ensuring that they have nutritious meals and decent clothes. These young children will change their futures and their children’s futures, breaking the vicious cycle of poverty and deprivation.
At the Iftaar Program, their laughter is infectious; they are excited and eager to talk and share their stories. They pose happily for pictures and their cheerfulness and spirit is alive. They take my camera in their hands and enjoy taking pictures of each other with wide grins on their faces.
Every child deserves a happy childhood and this is becoming a reality for these children of war, some of who were forced to find work to support their families financially after the devastating combat.
The children read a touching letter written by two young children from America, Zaki and Zara, who have been fundraising for Ramadhan Relief’s “Children Helping Children’ Campaign. Zaki and Zahra wrote:
“Dear World Federation - On a sunny Sunday, we had a lemonade and watermelon stand. We collected $10.50 for orphans in Iraq. Will you please give them the money? Please tell them we are praying very hard for them one Sura Al-Hamd every week.”
As we wrap up the Ramadhan Relief Program in Iraq this year, I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to spend the entire month of Ramadhan in the city of Imam Ali (as) and doing what he would have been doing 1,400 years ago - serving humanity. On behalf of everyone who benefitted from Ramadhan Relief here in Iraq, thank you very much for your support and your donations – the smiles and the look of hope on the faces of the thousands of men, women and children we helped this year are priceless. May Allah (swt) accept your Amaals.”
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Since March 2013, efforts have been underway to arrange for food and aid distribution in Iraq for the Holy month of Ramadhan. However, since the development of the recent disturbing events, The World Federation has increased its humanitarian aid for the month of Ramadhan in Iraq.
This year several individuals, couples and families will be embarking on the spiritual journey of walking from Najaf to Karbala to commemorate Arba’een. These people from different parts of the world will unite to complete an 80km walk through war-torn Iraq from the holy city of Najaf to the land of Karbala. They shall walk for three days during the daytime with the scorching desert sun bearing down upon them and they will rest in the evenings in makeshift tents, when the blistering cold takes over as temperatures rapidly plummet.