Across all the world’s nations, according to all religions and man-made constitutions, children should be given special care and kept away from struggles and conflicts. They are more valuable than any natural and industrial resource that a country might have. In our work, we must pay special attention to children, fulfill their needs and offer them the opportunity for a prosperous life.
Wherever war or disaster happen, melancholy follows, and children are among those most affected. In such situations, humanitarian agencies must put forth all their efforts to jointly aid the children and help them work through their shock and trauma, because children can not grow normally in an abnormal condition.
Iraq is a perfect example of a country where children need all sorts of assistance. We're working with parents and communities across the country to do just that.
Ali, 12 years old, lives in a working-class neighborhood in the city of Khanaqin. On the day I visited, he sat with his friends in the shade of a wall, waiting for his mother who was attending a session for Mercy Corps' Equal Services to All program. While he is able to play with his friends and pursue a relatively life, it's not going the way his parents wish.
As the summer heat soars above 120 degrees Fahrenheit, the people of this neighborhood suffer from electricity and water shortages, as well as a lack of job opportunities. Because life is hard for adults struggling to make a living, Ali’s parents and the parents of his friends worry what their children's future will look like.
Understanding the difficulty of the life in this neighborhood, women like Ali's mother are taking part in Mercy Corps-sponsored sessions that help them advocate and demand better services and opportunities from their governments. Our Support Efficient Advocacy for Marginalized Groups (SEAM) program supports women and other groups in Iraq to work with their government and communities to enhance the quality of living for themselves, as well as their future generations. Through these leadership initiatives and empowerment programs, people from various socio-economic backgrounds and neighborhoods have been included and given the chance to make positive contributions within their communities, which widens the horizon for better governance nationwide.
Mercy Corps vision is to create an Iraq where there are more opportunities and a better quality of life for everyone. We're partnering with parents and communities to help secure happiness for Ali, his friends and all Iraqi children. Today, thousands of Iraqi people are working to develop their own country — and they are determined to make it better than it has ever been.