Here, Moaffak Alkhafaji speaks with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki at the second national conference of the Iraqi Alliance for Disability Organizations, or IADO. Alkhafaji is the head of the alliance, which Mercy Corps helped create.
The conference — heavily attended by government ministers, representatives, imams and national and international media — took place last week in Baghdad's Almansoor Hotel. Mercy Corps' regional program director for the Middle East, David Holdridge, also spoke.
Yesterday, Alkhafaji wrote in an email to Holdridge:
On behalf of the IADO board and members, we thank you for all of your kind support to let us get more active to seek our legal rights. Really, your support let us attract Iraqi decision-makers and government to our rights and needs, and let Iraq's disabled reintegrate fully into the community. Thank you.
As the first nationwide alliance of Disabled People's Organizations in Iraq, IADO has gotten off to an impressive start, representing and pursuing the interests of persons with disabilities throughout the country. Mercy Corps continues to offer guidance and support to the alliance, as needed, so that they can continue in their activities most effectively.